Tuesday, April 16, 2024

What’s it like to fly on Mexicana?

Two months after the military-run Mexicana de Aviación started operations, a journalist documented her journey on a Mexicana flight from the Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA) near Mexico City to Monterrey, for the newspaper Expansión.

While she reported no difficulties on the way to the northern city, she was not able to take the return flight home.

Booking a flight with Mexicana flight still feels a little like rolling the dice, according to a recent traveler. (Mario Jasso/Cuartoscuro)

No online tickets but fast check-in at counter

“Opting for a cheaper airline ticket may end up costing more in the long run,” reporter Diana Nava wrote in her story for Expansión. 

The reporter’s ticket from AIFA to Monterrey was approximately 30% cheaper than the fares offered by Mexicana’s competitors. However, the airline does not provide online check-in, digital tickets or QR codes. This means that Mexicana passengers need to queue up at the counter to get a physical ticket, even if they don’t need to check any luggage.  

But in Nava’s case, the queue wasn’t long because the Boeing 737-800, with a capacity of 180 passengers, was carrying less than half of its passenger capacity.

Travelers report nearly empty planes, logistical confusion 

Nava took an afternoon flight on Monday with virtually no difficulties at AIFA, but Nava’s experience wasn’t the same when she attempted to board her return flight in Monterrey. 

According to Nava, Mexicana does not provide terminal information in the confirmation email, nor do they offer a customer service number. Signage at Monterrey International Airport is limited and since online check-in is not available, Mexicana passengers need to locate the airline’s counter to initiate the boarding process.

The reporter later found out from the company’s manager that since Mexicana only operates two weekly flights at Monterrey airport, it still doesn’t have its own counter. The manager offered that information about the location of the airline in the airport is available on Mexicana’s Facebook and Instagram pages. When the manager tried to find the information himself, Nava reported that he couldn’t find it immediately. 

The Mexicana representative also told Nava that she had arrived late for the boarding process and that the plane to Mexico City had left before the scheduled time, carrying only 28 passengers. Due to the low passenger traffic, the manager explained, the airline’s personnel left the check-in counter before the scheduled time to head to the boarding gate. 

The manager, who remained anonymous, told Nava that she would get a call from Mexicana’s team to reach an agreement. He added he wasn’t sure she would get a refund for the missed flight.  

At the time Expansión published the story, no one from Mexicana’s team had reached out to Nava. 

Mexicana offers discounted tickets to flyers but does not offer online ticketing or check-in. (Mario Jasso/Cuartoscuro)

AMLO acknowledges difficulties in expanding the fleet

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador mentioned that it has been challenging for Mexicana to purchase airplanes due to the high international demand. He added that even companies that rent airplanes do not have availability. 

“Indeed, there is a shortage in the market,” he said during a morning press conference. The company currently operates only five airplanes.

Despite the difficulties, López Obrador said they expected to acquire new airplanes by 2028.

Where does Mexicana fly? 

According to Mexicana’s website, there are currently 17 routes operating out of AIFA in Mexico City. 

The destinations include Acapulco, Campeche, Chetumal, Ciudad Victoria, Guadalajara, Ixtepec, Mérida, Monterrey, Mazatlán, Nuevo Laredo, Palenque, Puerto Vallarta, Tijuana, Tulum, Uruapan, Villa Hermosa and Ixtapa. 

The Defense Ministry (Sedena) recently announced that Mexicana will soon start operating flights to Nuevo Laredo (Tamaulipas), Uruapan (Michoacán) and Ciudad Ixtepec (Oaxaca). 

With reports from Infobae and Proceso

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