With three very good flights on two different new-to-me Mexican airlines complete, it was hard not to have a sinking feeling that my luck was about to run out. I came to Mexico expecting the worst, and so far, it had been one of the nicest air travel experiences I’ve had in a good long while. Something bad was about to happen, I just knew it. No offense to Volaris and the A321 I was about to fly on, of course.
Mexico City, Mexico (MEX) – Tijuana, Mexico (TIJ)
Monday, September 18, 2017
Duration: 3 hours 9 minutes
Seat: 3A (main cabin)
I was actually quite proud of myself for timing my flights so perfectly today. A 1 hour layover at MEX is risky, but knowing what I know about how “not fun” this airport is, I decided it was worth the gamble. Everything was looking good!
But then (just I was thinking so highly of myself), the flight information display changed our on-time status to “DELAYED“ and I was having visions of arriving in Tijuana at 3 AM instead of the 8 PM timeslot originally scheduled. I don’t know about you, but the thoughts of a skinny little white boy like me wandering the streets Tijuana at 3 AM (lost and confused) aren’t pleasant. I would prefer to avoid such situations, thank you very much.
These worries were completely without merit however, as there was no estimated departure time listed for the flight other than just being generally “delayed” – which could have meant anything. Furthermore, the activity at the gate seemed to be looking rather normal about 10 minutes before the scheduled boarding time. The gate agents were busy doing their thing, flight attendants and pilots were walking onto the plane and doing their pre-flight checks like normal, and nobody seemed overly concerned about how badly delayed we were actually going to be.
Long story short, calling this a delay ended up being a slight exaggeration. The gate agents started the boarding process only five minutes late, and as far as I could tell, there was no real explanation as to what really happened. Of course I didn’t mind at all, but it was hard not to chuckle about it as they scanned my boarding pass and sent me on my way down the jet bridge. Back in the states, most airlines won’t even think to call a flight delayed if boarding starts within 20 minutes of the scheduled time. Gotta protect those valuable on-time history stats, you know.
Much like what I experienced the Cancun airport earlier in the day, the ground staff here at MEX didn’t seem to care that I was trying to get pictures for this trip report. I attempted to get a picture of the plane through the jet bridge window just before stepping on board, but the ground staff were having none of it. Thankfully I was able to press the shutter button before they shoo’d me away.
I actually had no idea what type of aircraft this would be until it showed up at the gate, and once I got a look, I also had no idea that Volaris had A321s in their fleet. Stepping on board, I was officially impressed. This particular airplane seemed very new, and I even detected a hint of “new aircraft smell” in the air. This was something that I totally wasn’t expecting, and it was yet another thing about this trip that seemed to be going smashingly well.
Speaking of things going smashingly well, the middle seat next to me remained vacant as they closed the forward boarding door. Nice! The perfect way to cap off this trip, and I began settling in for the ride home to Tijuana. Whoa – i’m not going to lie when I say that it felt kind of weird to type that just now, especially considering that I’m about as gringo as one can possibly be, with my roots being planted deep in the heart of the midwestern US and all.
Tijuana isn’t technically home for me, but it kind of is considering that it is my termination airport for this trip and I only live 20 minutes north just over the border in San Diego.
The weather was nothing short of spectacular as we rolled out to the departure runway, and I was really hoping we would get into the air quickly so I could get some nice sunset pics from the air. Thankfully we did get off the ground in a timely fashion, and I spent the first 20 minutes or so of the flight gazing out the window and soaking in all that beautiful scenery. This is my favorite time of day to fly, that’s for darn sure.
Once the cabin service started, I decided to splurge on a chicken wrap to compliment the bottle of water I brought on board with me. I’ve never heard good things about the food on Volaris (well, to be completely honest I’ve never heard anything), so it was kind of a gamble to give this a shot. I mean, the picture of this chicken wrap look pretty good on the menu, so I couldn’t imagine it would be all that bad in real life.
Unfortunately, it was small and not exactly representative of the picture in the menu, but it was decently tasty and worthy of being called a proper snack. I probably could’ve ate five more of those things on the way over to Tijuana this evening, but doing so would have cost an obscene amount of money – an amount that I would’ve been totally embarrassed to admit here.
Once the chicken wrap was gone and the sun had set for good, I spent the rest of the flight listening to music and thinking back on how well of a trip this turned out to be. Everything had gone fairly well up to this point, and I was very thankful for having had the chance to try these new-to-me Mexican airlines without any problems along the way. It’s not at all like how I thought it would go down, but that’s a good thing.
Our arrival into Tijuana that evening was properly on time, and thanks to the efficiency of the Cross Border Xpress, I was back in San Diego and in an Uber headed for home within 10 minutes of landing.
How the hell did nothing go wrong on this trip? I had three separate itineraries on three separate Mexican airlines over the course of three days – one of which was a holiday that closed down the Mexico City airport altogether for a few hours. Yet somehow every single one of my flights were on time and we didn’t even crash – not even once.
Thanks for following along on this quick trip down to Mexico with me, and I hope you enjoyed seeing what low-cost air travel is like south of the border. I’m here to tell you that it’s not so bad actually, and I’d do all of this over again in a second without even thinking twice. Thanks for your hospitality Mexico, I’ll be back again soon!