Trip report introduction: Risking life and limb on low-cost Mexican airlines

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01. Introduction: Risking life and limb on low-cost Mexican airlines
02. Interjet A321 main cabin Tijuana to Mexico City
03. VivaAerobus A320 Mexico City to Cancun
04. The Royal Cancun All Suites Resort
05. Cancun was nothing like I expected it would be. Let me explain…
06. VivaAerobus A320 Cancun to Mexico City
07. The Grand Lounge Elite, MEX
08. Volaris A321 main cabin Mexico City to Tijuana

To most non-travel people I know, the phrase “low-cost Mexican airline” would be enough to send shivers up and down their spines, with thoughts of 60-year-old airplanes held together with string and duct tape being flown by underpaid and overworked pilots who just don’t give a shit. This is ridiculous of course, as air travel in Mexico is just as safe as it is anywhere else in the world. Okay, the average on-time stats may not be much to brag about, but it’s not like they are crashing airplanes into the mountains every week or something.

This is a trip report I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, because, well…I love Mexico and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each and every trip I taken south of the border over the years. Heck, I’ve even considered moving there a time or two, dreaming of quitting the rat race altogether and finding a nice quiet spot along the beach so that I can live out my beach bum fantasies for the rest my life. The people of Mexico are the kindest and most generous you’ll ever meet, and the food is beyond amazing. I could be a very happy white boy living in Mexico, I think.

I also have complete faith in the Mexican aviation system, enough so that I have never once questioned my desire to try every single Mexican airline there is. If it’s got wings and a Mexican flag plastered on the tail, I want to fly on it! Unfortunately I’ve been pretty lazy with this particular goal, and I totally missed out the chance to fly the two Mexican airlines that I wanted to try the most: Aero California and Mexicana. Aero California went bankrupt in 2008, with Mexicana chugging along a little longer before calling it quits in 2010. I’m still kicking myself for missing out on those. I did however, get the chance to try Aeromexico for  the first time last year, and that only fueled the fire for me to try some other neat little airlines down there.

Speaking of missing chances to fly Mexican airlines, I was also too slow to take advantage of the Volaris San Diego to Mexico City service that started in July 2011. Unfortunately, they pulled out of San Diego altogether shortly after the Cross Border Express (CBX) opened in 2016, which conveniently linked the Tijuana airport to San Diego. Are you sensing a pattern here? I haven’t been as proactive as I should have been in regards to booking flights on these Mexican airlines, and I’ve missed some pretty good opportunities so far. But enough is enough, and it’s time to go big (well, as big as possible when it comes to Mexican LCC’s).

The ultimate goal of this trip was to try Interjet and Volaris for the first time. I didn’t have any specific destination in mind, but I wanted to make sure that I chose the most interesting flights possible in and out of Tijuana over the course of 2 to 3 days. I didn’t want to spend all my time flying though, because as I said above, I do love Mexico and I wanted to make sure that I had a little bit of beach time before coming home. Besides, I learned my lesson about missing out on the beach during my last trip to Hawaii, and it wasn’t a mistake that I wanted to make again.

I ultimately settled on Cancun as a destination based on the fact that I found some pretty good deals with convenient timing on flights into Mexico City from TIJ and then on to Cancun. As an added bonus, there was this little airline that I’ve never heard of before called VivaAerobus that kept showing up in all my searches which sounded too interesting to pass up, so I figured I would take advantage of the opportunity and give this ultra low-cost carrier shot. What could possibly go wrong?

Here is the full itinerary for my flights:

09/16/17 4O2409 A321 main cabin Tijuana to Mexico City
09/16/17 VB3148 A320 main cabin Mexico City to Cancun
09/18/17 VB3153 A320 main cabin Cancun to Mexico City
09/18/17 Y4821 A321 main cabin Mexico City to Tijuana

Not only was I really excited about these flights, I was also really nervous considering that I had read some really horrible reviews online for VivaAerobus – you know, the kind that start with “I’m never flying this ******* airline again!

Making things even a bit more stressful was the fact that this entire itinerary was broken up into three separate bookings. One for Interjet, one for Volaris, and one for VivaAerobus. If something were to go wrong with any of these which prevented me from connecting to another flight, It would have screwed everything up and I would have had to pay out of my own pocket for another flight to get me where I needed to go. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Yup, that exact same thing happened to me last Thanksgiving as a matter of fact (all thanks to a 747 with engine problems), and it’s not something I want to do again. It’s an expensive way to travel.

Hopefully this trip report series will convince you that it is indeed possible to fly on several low-cost Mexican airlines in a row and actually live to tell about it. I actually had a really good time on this trip, and I think you’re going to enjoy reading about some of the things I saw along the way…

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