VivaAerobus A320 Mexico City to Cancun – not as bad as you’d think!

VivaAerobus A320 Mexico City to Cancun – not as bad as you’d think!

Before I begin, I think it’s important to give a quick lesson on the proper pronunciation of “VivaAerobus”. All you white people out there like me probably think that it’s pronounced exactly like it looks: “viva” “aero” “bus”. Well, I’m here to tell you that you’d be wrong. The proper pronunciation is actually “viva” “aero” “booos” – and saying it any other way will immediately label you as an uneducated gringo who is probably on the way to a cheesy tourist spot like Cancun or something.

Mexico City, Mexico (MEX) – Cancun, Mexico (CUN)
Saturday, September 16, 2017
Aircraft: A320-232
Registration: XA-VAU
Duration: 1 hour 42 minutes
Seat: 6F (main cabin)

VivaAerobus A320 side view
VivaAerobus A320 (XA-VAU) side view illustration by
MEX-CUN route map
Our route from Mexico City to Cancun this evening.

I knew it was a risk booking flights on this airline based on all the negative reviews that I had read on the internet, so my expectations were very low in the days leading up to this trip.

SANspotter selfie MEX
Yours truly pacing nervously around the gate area wondering what it was that possessed me to want to try VivaAerobus. The guy at the window doesn’t look very confident either…

One interesting thing to note about the pre-flight experience was the fact that VivaAerobus sent me a check-in notification three whole days before the flight. I was able to confirm my booking and check in at the 72 hour mark, which I thought was quite nice actually.

Unfortunately, the process wasn’t very smooth at all. Long story short, their website would not let me print a boarding pass unless I changed the language to Spanish. Choosing the English version of the site would let me see my entire itinerary, but for some reason it would not show the button to print the boarding pass. I’m not entirely sure how I figured that one out, but it took a while and it ended up being a frustrating beginning to my experience with VivaAerobus.

My flight from Tijuana arrived three hours before the scheduled departure of this flight to Cancun, which was early enough for the flight to not even show up on the boards yet. Well, the flight was listed, but there was no gate assigned to it yet so all I could do was just sit and wait to see where I would have to go. 

It ended up being quite a long wait as well, because the domestic terminal here at MEX isn’t very interesting and there’s not a whole lot to do if you don’t have lounge access. This seems to be a common theme for Mexican airports. And whose bright idea was it to block the windows of this airport so you can’t see out of it at all? It’s the same way over in the international terminal, and it’s highly frustrating to not be able to see out and watch airplanes to kill some time. 

I’m of the opinion that a 1 hour layover  isn’t always enough time in Mexico City, but I would have happily been faced with that on this particular day. 3 hours was way too long!

Mexico City Airport domestic terminal
There’s not much happening here in the domestic terminal at MEX!
MEX flight information display
There isn’t a specific gate assignment for my flight yet, but at least it’s on the boards.
MEX airside spotting
A world class international airport…or jail? This is the view to the outside world here at MEX.
VivaAerobus a320 MEX
You’ve got to look really hard to find a window with a view here. Lucky for me I was able to wedge my camera into a hole and get this pic of the VivaAerobus A320 that will take us to CUN.
VivaAerobus flight information MEX
A VivaAerobus flight that is actually on time? Fake news! Lies! Impossible! At least that is what most of the reviews I’ve read about this airline have said.

Boarding was delayed about 15 minutes due to a late arrival of the aircraft, and it was pretty much a mess once they started the process of getting everyone onboard. There was no order at all, and since my Spanish is very rusty and I could understand very little of what the gate agent was announcing over the loudspeaker, I just stood in line like a clueless tourist and waited my turn to board.

Boarding VivaAerobus flight
Boarding has started but I didn’t understand a word of the announcement. What to do?
VivaAerobus boarding process
I might as well get in line. If I’m too early, at least I know how to say “no habla espanol!” with a very American accent.
MEX airport gate door
Mood lighting? In a jet bridge? I’m digging that!
MEX jet bridge
The jet bridges here are on point.
Boarding VivaAerobus a320
There’s no turning back now. Time to get aquatinted with low cost Mexican air travel.
VivaAerobus a320 boarding door
The moment of truth.
VivaAerobus A320 main cabin
VivaAerobus A320 main cabin.
VivaAerobus a320 seats
VivaAerobus A320 seats.
VivaAerobus a320 seats
VivaAerobus A320 seats. Es muy bueno!
VivaAerobus a320 leg room
The seat pitch was pretty good actually. No complaints from me.

Once on the aircraft and in my seat, I was actually feeling quite impressed with the experience thus far. This particular A320 seemed to be quite new and very clean – not at all like anything that I was expecting honestly, so that was a pretty nice bonus. The flight was completely packed though without a single empty seat, so it still had a very bus-like feel to it. Oops, sorry, I meant “booos-like”.

VivaAerobus a320 interior
So far the only “low cost” thing about the experience was the advertising on the overhead bins and seat backs. I’m not totally sure what I was expecting, but so far so good.
VivaAerobus a320 safety card
Luckily I can understand “In case of fire, run like hell!” in nearly any language.

During the pushback and taxi up to the runway, I couldn’t help but to feel thankful that both of my flights were relatively on-time today considering that this airport had been closed for nearly 3 hours earlier for Independence Day celebrations.

For an airport this large with the insane amount of flights there are in and out of here every single day, that’s impressive. I can only imagine the insanity which would unfold if they closed ATL or ORD for three hours in one day. Mad props to the operation staff here at MEX for keeping everything running like a well-oiled machine.

VivaAerobus takeoff MEX
The taxi and takeoff sequence – complimented nicely by those bright red V2500 engines.

Once in the air, the service started nearly immediately and it was exactly like I expected it would be. There was actually a pretty decent menu of food and drink options on today’s flight, but if you wanted any of it you were going to have to shell out the pesos.

I wasn’t that desperate, mostly since this was only a 2 1/2 hour flight and I was looking forward to a big meal in Cancun, so I just had fun looking at the menu without purchasing anything. It should also be noted that even if you want water, it comes at a cost. Nothing is free on VivaAerobus.

VivaAerobus a320 climb
Breaking through the clouds and into clear blue sky.
VivaAerobus a320 interior in flight
Tacky advertising on the overhead bins, but that’s just part of the LCC experience.
SANspotter selfie VivaAerobus
Those advertisements didn’t bother me – it was a beautiful afternoon right outside my window!
VivaAerobus passengers
At least someone is interested in my trip reports! lol

The in-flight entertainment on today’s flight was courtesy of Mother Nature, and I’d like to say that she did a spectacular job dishing out some amazing scenery on the way over to Cancun this evening. We were treated to a beautiful sunset through big and puffy clouds, and it was easily one of the most scenic flights that I’ve been on a good long while. Unfortunately, it was completely dark by the time we landed, so I didn’t really get to see any of the terrain around Cancun at all on the way in.

Flying into sunset
Mother Nature putting on one heck of a show for us this evening.
VivaAerobus a320 sunset flight
It was too dark to see the ground, but the sky was amazing!
Landing Cancun airport
It was completely dark (and a bit sprinkly) by the time we landed, so there wasn’t much to see on the way in.
VivaAerobus a320 deplaning
Nobody looks desperate to get off this plane, so that means it must have been a pretty good flight…right?
VivaAerobus a320 interior view from rear
I wasn’t as eager as I thought I would be to get off either – VivaAerobus impressed me.
VivaAerobus a320 bulkhead
A bulkhead cool enough to give Virgin America a run for their money.
VivaAerobus a320 Cancun airport
No jet bridges here at the domestic terminal at CUN. Just the way I like it.
SANspotter selfie CUN
The fact that I’m smiling (and not holding up my middle finger) is a good sign. Another successful flight for my flight log!

As I was walking off the plane and into the terminal at Cancun, I was thinking how silly it was for me to worry so much about flying VivaAerobus. Those worries were completely overblown in my opinion, and it ended up being a really nice flight with not a single issue other than the fact that we left Mexico City a few minutes late. The plane was clean, safe, and the entire VivaAerobus crew was professional and very kind. Why do people hate this airline so much? It seemed pretty good to me.

However, I do realize that maybe I just got lucky, so my return flight to Mexico City in two days will likely tell me whether or not this particular flight was just a one-off lucky thing, or if it was consistent with how this airline is actually run. Stay tuned to find out…

Comments (9)

  1. Josh Walton

    November 2, 2017
    • SANspotter

      November 2, 2017
  2. Linda

    December 8, 2017
    • SANspotter

      December 8, 2017
  3. Harish Sharma

    November 19, 2018
  4. Gantt Cookson

    November 15, 2019
  5. Brad

    March 8, 2021
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      March 9, 2021

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