Originally Posted by playawannabe
can anyone comment on connecting through Mexico City - any experiences to share? Is this a bad idea?? TIA.
I always try to connect through Mexico city if I cannot fly direct.
There are advantages. Availability of lower cost fares. Not a given, but common especially during the last 6 months for some reason.
Arrival and departure at CUN Terminal 2. A much nicer terminal as it is less crowded and customs takes 2 minutes, perhaps 5 if you are a hapless tourist. You may get that anyway coming from Canada, but from the US a connection through MEX is the most common way to enjoy CUN Terminal 2.
Disadvantages. Mexico city airport can be confusing to people (esp Terminal 1 for Mexicana). This is less so today with a nice new terminal. My tips are:
1. You do customs in CUN. You are a transit passenger through MEX. You will still have to walk through the customs line. Don't give up your customs form. There may even be a separate line that includes those people with connecting flights.
Explain you are a transit passenger (although connecting is a better word to use as it is closer to the Spanish word) if necessary show your MEX to CUN boarding pass. Almost all customs agents immediately understand, but occasional some try to get you to do customs with only your hand luggage in MEX which is wrong. And then you'll need another form for CUN for your checked bags.
In years I had not run into this problem, but I did a couple of weeks ago. The supervisor had checked me out thoroughly (first time that happened) and then an underling insisted I do customs with only my hand luggage. I protested our of principle, and once I asked for the supervisors help I was waived through. A rare occurrence (the instance of a customs agent that has no clue) but if you know the drill it could save some time.
2. It used to be that MEX was the most confusing airport in the world. I know, I've been to so many of them. This is no longer the case (mostly). As you deplane, ask where the gate is for your next flight. And make sure you understand the answer before you walk away, especially in MEX terminal 1. The gate agents (in my experience) always speak good English. MEX terminal 2 for Aeromexico is a little easier.
3. You will of-course be doing immigration before customs in MEX. If you don't find the line you've taken a wrong turn. Find an airline employee and ask.
All of this makes things look more complicated that they really are, but a little advance knowledge can make connecting through MEX a breeze even for the very first time. If you don't know what you are doing you will still do fine. But I am always looking around me for confused tourists from Canada and the US as many of them need a little help and guidance connecting through MEX.