AeroMexico is the country’s largest domestic airline and since the bankruptcy of its main rival Mexicana in 2010, it’s now also Mexico’s biggest international carrier. The airline began in 1934 as a private company, part owned by Pan Am. Its domination by its northern giant remains, and AeroMexico is ultimately owned by US corporate giant Citibank. The airline was an enthusiastic customer of McDonnell Douglas aircraft but now operates a fleet of Boeings and Brazilian made Embraers. In the 1970’s the airline experienced growth but in the early 1990’s expansion hit turbulence. Their investment in Aeroperu went sour with its liquidation in 1999. Intense competition following deregulation, labour disputes and an aging fleet all contributed to AeroMexico’s dismal financial performance. The airline is a founding member of SkyTeam which was formed in 2000. Mexican movies from the 1970’s were early advocates of product placement advertising and most airline shots showed actors patronising AeroMexico.
To describe AeroMexico’s on-board service as good is being generous. The airline delivers an adequate level of creature comforts by staff who generally lack enthusiasm and are typically indifferent to the needs of passengers. Complaints or requests are often met with a blank stare or feigned sympathy. Staff do their job and little more. After the meal service they vanish into the galley to gossip and laugh with each other in Spanish. The feel on-board is international rather than exotically Mexican.
AeroMexico has an extensive domestic network and also offers excellent links around Latin America. They serve the Gringos to the north well as well. AeroMexico is the sole Latin American carrier to fly to Asia and stretches to many of Europe’s capitals as well. Domestic flights are frequent and often direct, while international routes are less frequent.
AeroMexico is cheap. However many of its no-frills competitors are even cheaper but will provide a less reliable service. If something goes wrong, passengers then often wish they had booked on AeroMexico as the airline will rebook and take care of you while others will attempt to shirk any responsibility.
AeroMexico provides an average catering service, which compared to most of the airlines operating in the US and America is a great improvement. Many US holiday makers accustomed to a bag of nuts and a Coke are pleasantly surprised to be served a tray laden with goodies. Meals are attractively served. First Class is served on linen and china with real cutlery, as are Business Class passengers and even Economy customers may be surprised how much is on their aluminium/plastic serving tray. Catering is inoffensive and not laced with chillies.
AeroMexico’s fleet is generally older and they have the original entertainment system to match. If there is any it will feature a TV screen at the front showing a single movie in Spanish with English subtitles or voice overs. There are numerous audio channels and an indifferent in-flight magazine to flick through. Longer flights can be boring so an iPod or a book is a good idea.
Mexican airports do not win awards for their ground services and some of them seem to hire baggage handlers from Prisons. Ground services are ordinary to terrible and baggage is a real problem. Bags are carelessly handled by poorly paid staff and theft is too common. Ticketing issues and mistake fixing by the Airline’s ground staff is treated like a real nuisance. Angry passengers have been known to threaten staff and consequently staff can be uncaring about any special needs.
Premium Classes provide an improved version of ordinary. AeroMexico’s business class is called Premier Class and in many ways is inferior to Economy Class on Emirates. Seats are larger, however their entertainment is minimal and meals are simple. Premier Class is definitely quieter and less crowded than the back of the plane but is not worth considering unless you are physically large or travelling a long distance. Their lounges – Salón Premier are essentially a private cafe with most luxuries present in other lounges totally absent.
AeroMexico provide an extremely average Economy class which they is called Tourist Class. The airline has a wide variety of aircraft in service and meals and facilities vary according to the leg being flown. Staff do their job on the ground and in the air and the experience is extremely mediocre. Frequently economy passengers are sneaking extra bags on the flight resulting in a scramble to find space in the overhead luggage bins.
AeroMexico have metricated their loyalty scheme and do call points kilometres. Whatever the name given they are practically worthless and a considerable amount of flying needs to be done before you can consider redeeming them for a flight or upgrade. As a member of SkyTeam AeroMexico’s Premier card is useful throughout the world on partner airlines as well as local associated travel company providers.
AeroMexico has a lot of problems. Management clearly think they are more valuable than their staff and have a bad attitude. They have no idea how to deal with employees and regularly initiate disastrous union confrontations. There is also resentment by many employees at the company being ultimately US owned and staff typically don’t care about the airline’s wellbeing or profit. Management’s lack of initiative means their answer to competition is to cut costs and wages rather than improve services.
AeroMexico is hamstrung by operating an aging fleet including three ancient McDonnell Douglas MD83’s. Cuts have been made in the airlines maintenance and wherever possible the airline seeks to comply with manufacturers minimum standards and not exceed them. Considering the airlines reputation for engineering economy it is surprising the airline has not had more accidents or incidents. Most they have had are not strictly their fault. In 2009 the airline experienced a hijacking. The ‘terrorists’ modest demand was to speak with Mexico’s president.
An ordinary airline offering basic service and showing signs of operating under financial stress.
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