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Introduction: The Long Way To Spain
Review: Avianca 787 Business Class Los Angeles To Bogota
Review: Avianca Diamond Lounge Bogota Airport
Review: Avianca 787 Business Class Bogota To Madrid
Review: Marriott Madrid Airport Auditorium Hotel
Review: Sala VIP Cibeles Terminal 1 Madrid Airport
Review: Aeromexico 787 Business Class Madrid To Mexico City
Review: Aeromexico Lounge Mexico City Airport
Review: Amex Centurion Lounge Mexico City Airport
Review: Aeromexico 787 Business Class Mexico City To Los Angeles
I deplaned at around 5:40AM, leaving me a bit over four hours before my connection to Los Angeles.
I proceeded down the arrivals hall, following the signage towards connecting flights.
On my flight from Madrid, the crew explained I’d have to clear immigration in Mexico City, which surprised me, since I figured I’d be able to make an airside transit. Well, sure enough they were right, and within a few minutes I found myself in a long immigration queue which seemed to move at a snail’s pace.
I know Americans are perhaps overly sensitive when it comes to wanting personal space, but I was especially frustrated that the person behind me was standing so close that I could feel him breathing on my neck. Eventually I managed to put my weekender bag around my shoulder in such a way that I at least had a few extra inches of forced separation.
It took over 30 minutes before I was through immigration. When I was towards the front of the immigration queue, they opened up a new lane. Rather than opening it to those already in the queue, others just arriving at the checkpoint ran to the front of the line.
After that I had to queue to have my bag screened, as all bags are screened on arrival at Mexico City Airport. That wasn’t an especially straightforward process, as others were importing things, which increased how long the screening took.
Then it came time to clear customs.
“You have more than $10,000?”
“The form says you have more than $10,000 on you, you need to declare.”
I looked at the form, and sure enough I accidentally checked the box indicating that I was carrying more than $10,000. Crap! I had to fill out the entire form again.
I then handed the same agent my newly completed customs form, and then I had to push a button, which either flashed green or red. This is the first time I’ve seen such a system, but basically it’s a randomizer which decides whether you undergo further screening or not. Fortunately I got “green.”
The entire process took almost an hour, so at this point I had learned my lesson — Mexico City Airport isn’t a good place for international-to-international connections.
At that point I found myself on the arrivals level, and took the escalator up a level to the departures level.
I swear I’m usually good at navigating airports. I mean, I basically live in them. But I found the departures level to be extremely confusing in terms of which security area I was supposed to head towards, since my flight wasn’t showing on the departures monitor. Eventually I figured out the right checkpoint, at which point my transit experience started to get better.
There was a premium security checkpoint, so the process of getting through security only took about five minutes. On top of that, I found the security officers to be both friendly and competent, much better than the TSA in the US.
The airside of Terminal 2 had unique architecture. At first I disliked it, as it lacked natural light and almost felt like a prison. But there was something ever so slightly charming about it.
I turned left and followed the signage towards the airline lounges, which were just a very short walk away.
There I could take either an elevator or stairs up a level. This area is where the Aeromexico, American Express, and HSBC lounges are located.
Upon exiting the elevator I found myself in a long hallway, with the Aeromexico Salon Premier being the first lounge on the right.
As you can see, the lounge is open to SkyTeam passengers, as well as those with The Club Card and Priority Pass memberships.
I presented my boarding pass and was quickly admitted by the associate, who didn’t seem to speak any English. As mentioned above, this is also a Priority Pass lounge. The following US credit cards offer Priority Pass memberships, and are a better value than paying for a membership outright, in my opinion:
- The Citi Prestige® Card comes with a Priority Pass membership, and you can take two guests or immediate family members for free
- The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN also come with a Priority Pass membership, though only the cardmember can access the lounge for free; additional guests cost $27 each
The lounge was crowded given how early in the morning it was, though perhaps it makes sense since Aeromexico has lots of redeyes arriving from South America early in the morning, and presumably many people connect to the US from there.
The lounge featured one main room, with high ceilings and a few types of seating. There were communal tables, more traditional lounge chairs, a bar area, etc.
Yeah, the lounge is quite outdated, though there was something almost charming about it, with the cheesy plants and brick walls.
At the far end of the lounge was the second largest room in the lounge, which felt a bit like a hospital waiting room, in terms of the decor and lack of natural light.
Then there was another room with a buffet area and a second bar.
Who wouldn’t want chips and salsa at 7AM?
There was another buffet in the main room of the lounge, with self serve soft drinks, water, beer, wine, and liquor.
The continental breakfast spread consisted of cups with fresh fruit, pastries, yogurt, granola, cereal, granola bars, etc.
In the far corner of the lounge were the restrooms, which were rather limited for the number of people this lounge serves.
There’s also a spa in the lounge, offering paid treatments.
The spa menu read as follows:
The prices would be reasonable in the US, though seemed rather high for Mexico. For example, a 30 minute massage cost ~30USD, while a 60 minute massage cost ~45USD. The lounge otherwise was quite chaotic, so I suppose if the spa was actually nice and relaxing, it may not be a bad option.
While the lounge seemed to be mostly self serve, a server came around and asked if I wanted anything to drink. I ordered a cappuccino, and was delighted to see that it was made fresh by a barista, rather than being from a machine.
I also had a pastry, which was stale.
I hung out in the lounge for about an hour, and spent most of my time getting caught up on work. I wasn’t able to connect to the lounge’s wifi, though I had no issue connecting to the airport’s Boingo network, which I have access to through some of my American Express cards.
After spending about an hour in the lounge I headed to the Amex Centurion Lounge, which I’ll be reviewing in the next installment.
At 8:45AM I headed to my departure gate, about an hour before departure. I enjoyed the variety of planes at the airport, including many Aeromexico 737s.
At the far end of the concourse I could see the Aeromexico 787 which would be taking me to Los Angeles.
The terminal felt less depressing in daylight, and I almost sort of liked it. While the architecture was from a different era, I found it significantly nicer than the outdated terminals you’ll find at many other airports.
My flight was departing from gate 68, which was still quite empty when I arrived.
I was surprised by the number of pilots at the gate, as I counted at least eight pilots in Aeromexico uniforms. Surely they don’t need that many relief pilots for the three hour flight to Los Angeles. 😉 As it turned out, several of them lived in Los Angeles and were commuting.
Boarding finally began at 9:10AM, about 35 minutes before departure. Aeromexico has a great boarding system, similar to what you’ll find on Southwest. There are separate queues for each boarding group, which leads to less congestion at the gate.
Aeromexico Salon Premier Mexico City bottom line
The Aeromexico Lounge wasn’t half bad, and was possibly even a bit better than I was expecting. The food and drink spread were roughly in line with what I was expecting, while I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that servers were roaming to offer drinks.
The main takeaway I had from this experience is that I’d avoid connecting in Mexico City in the future. If I did decide to connect in Mexico City in the future, I’d be sure to leave a long connection.
While you shouldn’t arrive early to visit the Aeromexico Lounge, it’s not a bad place to kill some time either.
Do you have a favorite lounge at Mexico City Airport?