In a nutshell: Aeromexico 737 business class is similar to your standard domestic first class experience. The recliner seats are comfortable, more so than what you’ll find on U.S. carriers short-to-medium haul aircraft, as they include a leg rest. The friendly staff and surprisingly decent food added to the enjoyable experience. It’s also clear that Mexico’s flag carrier is on top of COVID-19 precautions.
Flight Details and Booking
My Aeromexico 737 business class flight to Mexico City was one segment of a trip to Mérida, Yucatán that I booked using a voucher from flights canceled last year. I’d fought unsuccessfully for a refund of the fantastic business class fare I’d booked to São Paulo, Brazil. I’d sadly not get to experience their long-haul product with this major change, but I was grateful I could actually switch my destination. Even getting this rebooked through Chase Travel and Aeromexico was quite an ordeal.
The ticket cost approximately $550 for the round-trip in business class. I don’t know exactly what the fare was supposed to be, as I was left with a ~$300 residual credit from the initial voucher. However, this was a mistake on the Chase Travel agent’s part, as there was not supposed to be any additional value. Somewhere along the way, communication and pricing broke down. But Chase, to their credit, has honored the quoted residual credit. All of this from an initial booking using Chase Ultimate Rewards through the travel portal.
- Date: April 25, 2021
- Origin: San Francisco, California (SFO)
- Destination: Mexico City, CDMX (MEX)
- Flight: AM 669
- Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
- Cabin: Business
- Seat: 4A
Crediting to Delta SkyMiles awarded me 2,633 Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs), $752 Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs) and 3,574 redeemable miles as a Silver Medallion for just the SFO-MEX segment. I received a total of 3,754 MQMs and $1,000 for the SFO-MEX-MID outbound. I would have received the same on the return, but…we shall not get into that fiasco. More on that in a different post.
Arrival and Check-In Process
While I definitely prefer to book a ticket out of our regional airport, driving to the Bay Area for this flight was easier option. I used off-airport parking for the first time in several years. Not that I have ever used on-airport parking…I’m just allergic to airport parking in general. The rates, after a 2-days-free coupon, at Park SFO aren’t all that bad for 5 days. Then it was a quick shuttle ride to the international terminal.
Aeromexico’s check-in counter is at the far end, closest to the security entrance to Terminal A. There were very few people in line when I arrived. With a business class ticket, I could have used the priority check-in queue. However, there wasn’t anyone in the standard queue and half a dozen people in priority, so standard ended up actually being faster.
Before you get to enter either queue, you have to go through a COVID-19 screening. This required providing your passport and having your temperature checked.
I’d not checked in online, as the Aeromexico system would not let me do so. Plus, I could not get the reservation to save my Delta SkyMiles number, which was critical for mileage credit. The agent was able to add it before weighing and marking my carry-on bags and printing my boarding passes.
Airport and Boarding Experience
The check-in agent surprised me when she noted that the Air France-KLM Lounge is open. I’d not expected this, and I hadn’t even bothered to check the status of the Air France Lounge. It was nice to grab a bite to eat before the flight. I’d hoped I could make it from breakfast all the way until the Aeromexico 737 business class lunch service, but I was already quite hungry. I would have broken down and bought food while waiting for the flight.
I headed to the gate just before 12:30 PM, which was the boarding time stated by the check-in agent for the 1:30 PM flight. Boarding did not actually begin until 12:55 PM. The Aeromexico 737 was departing from Gate A4.
Boarding during COVID-19 is confusing. Some airlines don’t deviate all that much from their boarding process, while others are almost totally backwards. Aeromexico is the latter. Boarding started with families and folks who needed additional assistance. But after that they walked through boarding zones from highest to lowest. I thought I’d missed zone 1. But since 5, 4, and 3 all came first, I got waived out of the line until zone 1 was called. Whoops. No early boarding for business class.
The flight to Mexico City was completely full. By the time I had scanned my ticket, the jet bridge was almost entirely backed up with people, spaced six feet apart. I was mildly annoyed at this point about not boarding first. Normally, I don’t care much. But I do prefer to avoid this situation whenever I can.
The crew closed the aircraft door at 1:30 PM, which was scheduled departure. It was a wet day in SFO. We ended up heading all the way to runway 28L for takeoff, something I don’t think I’ve ever experienced except when aboard a wide-body. We had a scheduled flight time of 3:48 to Mexico City Benito Juarez Airport.
AeroMexico 737 Business Class Cabin and Seat
The business class cabin of an Aeromexico Boeing 737-800 is pretty standard. There are a total of 16 Clase Premier (business class) seats, four per row. Seats are comfortably wide and offer nearly 40 inches of pitch, which is better than what some U.S. airlines offer domestically on their 737 aircraft.
The Aeromexico airline logo subtly is subtly stamped into the middle of the seat back. I selected seat 4A, at the back of the cabin (1A is pictured). Aeromexico offered blankets in their business class cabin for our approximately four hour trek, but no pillows.
I was surprised by the fact that Aeromexico offers their in-flight magazine. I don’t think I’ve flown a U.S. carrier who has returned theirs to the skies. United’s Hemispheres (my favorite of the U.S. “Big 3” magazines) will be returning in June 2021. Surface transmission of COVID-19 is not a primary mechanism for spread, so I’d hope we’ll see more of these return. Forgot to mention: flight attendants did hand out wipes when you step aboard, as most carriers do, for you to clean your seat. I never did before the pandemic and still never do.
Both Aeromexico 737 business class and economy class offer in-flight entertainment. The screen was responsive and easy to navigate. The headphone port worked fine, but it felt a bit loose when I plugged in my wired Bose noise-canceling headphones. Although the IFE is a touchscreen, you can also use a controller to navigate. Aeromexico also offers at-seat power in 737 business class.
One of the biggest surprises was the leg rest offered by the business class seats. This is something I’ve never known was offered for a recliner seat, aside from a long-haul premium economy product. With my backpack as a footrest, this made reclining super comfortable.
Meal service began fairly quickly after takeoff. The choice was: pasta. But it came with a nice little salad and cheesecake and honestly turned out to be one of the better meals I’ve had in a short-to-medium haul business class cabin. It was certainly world’s better than the “meal” offered in economy, something I would experience on my return to the U.S.
While the flight attendants were friendly, they basically disappeared after the meal service. There was no above-and-beyond factor, but they did their job well.
Other Parts of the Experience
Soon after the plane started moving, the child seated in seat 1A started shrieking hysterically. Then it moved to very loud yelling. At first I was annoyed, but when he later walked up and down the aisle in the business cabin, I realized he was likely autistic. He was almost certainly over two, but the flight attendants were very lax about the mask requirement for him. I *think* I heard the staff announce that masks are only required for kids six-years-old and up, but I cannot verify that in the airline policy. If it is policy, I certainly think it is a better line to draw than the U.S. mandate.
Aeromexico does offer WiFi. My iPhone struggled to connect to it, though. I do have an automatically activated VPN, and this sometimes causes issues, and it may have been the case here. I really didn’t need to connect, so I didn’t keep trying. While WiFi is available for purchase, you can enjoy free messaging through iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp.
I started the movie Voces Inocentes during the flight, finishing it during my return. It’s a Spanish-language film based on the true story of a boy growing up during the El Salvador Civil War. I can thank Aeromexico for introducing me. It’s heart-wrenching and worth watching.
We descended through the smog and touched down at Mexico City International Airport as the sun was setting. Deplaning was accomplished by bus, from which we were dumped into a giant immigration queue. This tainted the end of my experience. First trip I’ve passed through MEX, and now after two passes through T2, I’m not really a fan.
As my first experience with Mexico’s flag carrier, I enjoyed flying Aeromexico 737 business class. I’d happily fly them again. I’ve always heard mixed reviews about the airline, and while I have not appreciated their policies regarding COVID-19 changes and cancellations, their on-board product is surprisingly good. When ticket prices are reasonable, the earnings flying in their business class cabin are also excellent when credit to Delta SkyMiles, making this a win on the miles and points side as well. 🙂