John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) – Benito Juárez International Airport (MEX)
STD: 2:55PM ATD: 2:55PM
STA: 7:15PM ATD: 6:30PM
Boeing 787 (N659AM, 2.8 years old)
Flight Date: July 17, 2016
Class of Service: Economy Class
I’m on my way to Mexico City for a 2 week work trip. When I travel for work, class of travel is based on time between locations. Since Mexico City is only 5 hours away, that means I’m flying coach.
As of June 2016, Aeromexico is one of the TSA PreCheck airlines, meaning you should be eligible for expedited screening. However, since Aeromexico departs out of Terminal 1 in JFK – an entirely international airline terminal, there are no lines dedicated to TSA PreCheck passengers. I tweeted @AskTSA a couple days before my flight and received two messages – one that suggested there might have been a PreCheck line, another suggesting otherwise.
Since my flight was at 2:55, I purposely attempted to get to security no sooner than 1pm based on TSA’s response. While there was no dedicated line, the TSA officer told me to hold on to my boarding pass (which had the words TSA PreCheck printed across the top), which would allow me to keep my shoes on. While I still had to take my laptop out and place it on its own bin, it was nice not to have to take my shoes off, and I got to go through the standard metal detector rather than the X-Ray contraption they usually send you through. The line was still much slower than the standard expedited screening line, since everyone else was slow to take their shoes off and frequently had to be sent back to go through again as they had keys or iPhones in their pockets, but the extra consideration was appreciated.
Aeromexico does not operate its own lounge in JFK, so my SkyTeam Elite status granted me access to the AirFrance Salon, my favorite of the SkyTeam lounges in the terminal (not that there are many).
As I settled in to grab a bite, I noticed the food set up was mostly empty – looks like I missed the lunch rush (and all the food that came with it). Shortly after, they refilled most of the platters.
Hot dishes included a stir fry noodle dish and two grain-based dishes (fried rice of some sort, it looked like). Cold salads and (room temperature) chicken was provided nearby, along with fruit and yogurt. I found soup pots, but these were empty.
Since the majority of Air France flights depart JFK at night, most of those at the lounge seemed to be Aeromexico and China Southern passengers, from what I could glean from conversation. I’ve spent time at the lounge at night prior to departing on an Air France flight and I do think the dinner service is much better (tastier), and I imagine this is no coincidence. Even so, the lounge is a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the terminal – even if the set up is a little tight, offering little privacy from your neighbors.
When it’s open, I much prefer the second floor to the first floor. It tends to be less crowded and as such, much quieter. The second floor is sometimes closed off when the lounge is less busy, but fortunately today it was open
The associate at the ticketing counter listed board in at 30 minutes before the flight time. I found it odd but I didn’t think much of it, nor did I care to arrive early since I knew there was no chance of an upgrade (despite my attempt to bid for it online a few days before). I got to the gate late, and most of the passengers had already boarded, with the exception of zone 4 and 5. It was unclear where the line was exactly and most of them gave me a dirty look for “cutting” them, since I walked up through the zone 1 lane.
Aeromexico’s 787 planes offer two cabin classes. Business class seats are configured in a 2-2-2 set up whole Economy class on the 787 routes are set up in a 3-3-3 configuration.
While I like to sit as close to the front of the plane for easy deplaning, the flight looked fairly packed based on the seat map when I was picking my seat. I opted to sit towards the back of the plane in hopes of having an empty seat next to me. I selected an aisle seat the middle section, figuring if I had a neighbor, at least it was only one person I was having to get up for. As I approached seat 28F – I found a woman sitting in my seat. As it turns out she had the middle seat. However, I got lucky and she was traveling with her son and the seat next to him was empty so she ended up moving before take off and I got to enjoy some extra room on the flight!
The seats are standard economy class seats. While the plane is new, the seats are still tightly packed and feel a bit narrow but have good legroom for economy (34″).
Disappointingly, there are no outlets in Economy (but Business Class does). I’d hoped that on a newer plane, Aeromexico might have opted to build these in but that is not the case. The seats do come with a USB port, so I was able to charge my phone. This route does not have options for wifi, though even if it did, my laptop would be dead in about an hour so the point would be moot (but I’d get a fair amount of Instagram-ing done).
We pushed back at about 3:00, but we waited about on the runway about 15 minutes before take off. Beverage service started at about 3:50, where they served a variety of Coke product and beer and wine with a small packet of nuts.
All my time on American carriers (aka Delta) had me forget that meals are served on international flights, even on ones shorter than a flight to California.
The meal service began at around 4:25. Curious to what today’s offering were, I dug around my seat pocket, looking for a menu (who am I and what airline do I think I’m flying?). I didn’t find one and soon figured out why – there was only one meal option. On the flight they served pasta with tomato sauce and capers, with a side of greens and a roll, and a fun sized Milky Way to top off the meal. The pasta was over cooked (far beyond al dente), but I’d eaten at the lounge, so it was probably a good thing I skipped this meal.
Shortly after the meal service, the cabin lights (and windows!) were dimmed. I almost forgot it was only about 5pm EDT at this point since the cabin was nicely dim and relaxing. Passengers sitting in window seats will be able to adjust the tiny on the windows at the touch of a button. I, unfortunately, did not have the chance to tinker with this, but will have to opt for a window seat on my next trip on a 787.
The IFE was okay, offering some decent new movies like Batman vs Superman and Deadpool, but as far as variety goes, there weren’t too many movies or TV shows. Better than what you might expect to see on an American carrier on this route, if they offer AVOD at all.
The Flight Attendants on the flight were friendly enough, though most of the time when I asked for something I felt like I was bothering the FA. Drinks and meals were dished out quickly, as though to get the service over with so they could get back to whatever it was they were doing before they had to, oh, come to work.
We experienced some turbulence as we approached Mexico City, and despite our earlier delay, we still arrived in MEX at around 6:30 CDT – 45 minutes before our scheduled arrival time.
Overall, the flight wasn’t terrible, though my experience alone based on the soft product doesn’t make me particularly keen to fly Aeromexico again, if other better options existed. Service was fine, food was below par, but flying on a 787 is definitely not a bad way to get to Mexico City. Considering American carriers don’t serve meals on JFK-MEX (or other comparable) routes, an underwhelming meal is better than none at all. Additionally, when flying Business Class, other carriers that offer non-stop service on this route do not offer lie flat beds, so this particular flight offers a superior hard product compared so similar fights. While Aeromexico only operates one Dreamliner each way per day from New York to Mexico City, I’d certainly try catching this same flight if I found myself booking a trip on this route.
Check in: 6/10 – relatively short line for SkyTeam Elite, but associates were unfriendly
Lounge: n/a – Aeromexico utilizes another airlines’ lounge
Boarding: 6/10 – though broken up by zone, lining up to be processed is disorganized when boarding after zone is called
Food: 7/10 – overcooked, underwhelming, but extra points for actually serving food where other carriers on this route do not
Seat: 8/10 – seats feel narrow but good amount of legroom
Cleanliness of aircraft – 8/10 – clean upon boarding, but lavatory was in dire need of cleaning by mid-flight
Crew: 6/10 – uncharming, unfriendly, unhappy flight attendants
IFE: 7/10- not a huge selection of shows or movies, but those that were available were good
Elite recognition: 7/10 – The ticketing agent mentioned she put me on the upgrade list (the sentiment was nice) and thanked me for being a SkyTeam member, but nothing actually came of that. She also let me know which lounge I could use given my SkyTeam Elite status
Flight Timeliness: 8/10 – Departed late, but landed early
Overall: 63/90 (74%) ★★★★★
Hotel Review: Camino Real Polanco
Hotel Review: Camino Real Polanco (Part 2)
Lounge Review: MEX – Aeromexico Premier Salon
Lounge Review: MEX – American Express Centurion Lounge
Flight Report: Aeromexico 404