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Old 01-19-2010   #1 (permalink)
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Connecting in Mexico City - thoughts/experiences?

I am finding some very good fares for my May trip to Playa that connect to Cancun through Mexico City. (Mexicana Airlines) I cannot fly direct from Calgary at that time of year (not affordably anyways) so would need to connect in DFW or IAH anyways, so..... my question is can anyone comment on connecting through Mexico City - any experiences to share? Is this a bad idea?? TIA.
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Old 01-19-2010   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by playawannabe View Post
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.
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Old 01-19-2010   #3 (permalink)
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I only use Mexicana...

D.F. Juarez can be a bit overwhelming for new passengers. From YYC you’re going to lose two full days due to travelling times and layover. The service on Mexicana is second to none…


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Originally Posted by playawannabe View Post
I am finding some very good fares for my May trip to Playa that connect to Cancun through Mexico City. (Mexicana Airlines) I cannot fly direct from Calgary at that time of year (not affordably anyways) so would need to connect in DFW or IAH anyways, so..... my question is can anyone comment on connecting through Mexico City - any experiences to share? Is this a bad idea?? TIA.
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Old 01-19-2010   #4 (permalink)
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I only use Mexicana...

D.F. Juarez can be a bit overwhelming for new passengers. From YYC you’re going to lose two full days due to travelling times and layover. The service on Mexicana is second to none…
Thanks for the replies. It's 2 full days connecting anyways. I am thinking it may be a good idea to avoid US customs this trip with all the new security measures they have in place! So - a good fare, a great airline and the ability to avoid US customs just may seal the deal for me! The only negative on the scheduling is the 0845 departure from CUN heading home but it could be worse...
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Old 01-19-2010   #5 (permalink)
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I only use Mexicana...
The service on Mexicana is second to none…
I used to say the same thing.

And then about 8 months ago things turn to cr*p. This was most likely a long string of unlucky experiences. But when there is a big incident on every single flight both ways every month; at a point you have to throw in the towel, surrender and take your money elsewhere.

To me it seemed they had returned to Mexicana of the 80s and early 90s. Where they acted as if Aeroflot had provided all of their customer service training and the staff acted more like communist apparatchiks than the polite and gracious Mexicans that they really are. Again, I probably just had one very long string of bad luck.

I switched to Aeromexico with that nice new shiny Terminal 2 at MEX and I wondered why I waited so long to come to my senses. Every person I interacted with was so gracious and polite. Viva Mexico.
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Old 01-19-2010   #6 (permalink)
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I see...actually AM has also provided excellent service. I had a opportunityto fly on five different airlines in December (all of them European based) and have to say that only KLM was close (customer service) to Mexicana - "pound for pound" if you will...

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Originally Posted by Michael View Post
I used to say the same thing.

And then about 8 months ago things turn to cr*p. This was most likely a long string of unlucky experiences. But when there is a big incident on every single flight both ways every month; at a point you have to throw in the towel, surrender and take your money elsewhere.

To me it seemed they had returned to Mexicana of the 80s and early 90s. Where they acted as if Aeroflot had provided all of their customer service training and the staff acted more like communist apparatchiks than the polite and gracious Mexicans that they really are. Again, I probably just had one very long string of bad luck.

I switched to Aeromexico with that nice new shiny Terminal 2 at MEX and I wondered why I waited so long to come to my senses. Every person I interacted with was so gracious and polite. Viva Mexico.

Last edited by Opatije; 01-19-2010 at 07:03 PM..
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Old 01-19-2010   #7 (permalink)
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A few years ago I read that more luggage gets lost in Mexico City than any other airport, especially if you change carriers.
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Old 01-19-2010   #8 (permalink)
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Hi January! I have connected thru Mexico City many times. It's a breeze. My experience is tat you DO go thru customs in Mexico City. Easy, since it's not as busy as Cancun and then you are a domestic passenger when you land in Cancun so you just pick up your luggage, push the green button and off you go.
I prefer to connect there. Really nice airport too.
I have the same flight patterns if I want to go for Vikki's birthday next month. Just over $300. tx in but on the way home, we overnight in Mexico City. Will let you know how that goes. I am an airport sleeper, Edmonton being the best, Vancouver 2nd...Seattle THE WORST!!!
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Old 01-19-2010   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael View Post
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.

I only connected there once, and it was a bit confusing! I never saw anything that resembled immigration or customs, I found a gate agent and asked about my connecting flight to CUN, she sent me to gate C16 or wherever, and they told me to go to area B or somewhere and it would be announced at 4:30, my flight was at 4:45... No problem, I found it on one of the monitors. Headed to my gate, boarded the plane, got off in CUN, got my bags and walked out the door! No one ever asked for any form of ID or my fm3 or any papers or anything!!
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Old 01-19-2010   #10 (permalink)
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I just did the connection through there over the holidays. Quite easy. Aeromexico was great....left on time, arrived on time, food and drink gratis. Mexico City terminal was easy. Terminal 2 in Cun was empty.

On a down note on returning to the U.S.
I went to Playa this past weekend for the three day holiday weekend and coming back through immigration was quite intense in their questioning...
how long gone
where did I go
who went with me
'where do I work
how big is the school I work for
what grade levels are the students
what did I buy there

I was wondering what would have happened if I said I was traveling alone like I usually do. Just happened a friend went with this time.

And on another amusing note...the guy sitting in the seat next to me had a few too many and filled out his immigration form in the most interesting way. Name
One Cool Dude

Are you carrying ammunition, etc.
Yes

They were not amused in Cancun. And who can blame them.
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Old 01-19-2010   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
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A few years ago I read that more luggage gets lost in Mexico City than any other airport, especially if you change carriers.
Yes, I have also "heard" this which is partly why I threw this out there for some feedback

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Hi January! I have connected thru Mexico City many times. It's a breeze. My experience is tat you DO go thru customs in Mexico City. Easy, since it's not as busy as Cancun and then you are a domestic passenger when you land in Cancun so you just pick up your luggage, push the green button and off you go.
I prefer to connect there. Really nice airport too.
I have the same flight patterns if I want to go for Vikki's birthday next month. Just over $300. tx in but on the way home, we overnight in Mexico City. Will let you know how that goes. I am an airport sleeper, Edmonton being the best, Vancouver 2nd...Seattle THE WORST!!!
Penny! Your feedback is reassuring, since we travel from the same corner of the world and likely have similar expectations when traveling (I have never slept in an airport but I would ) No overnight this trip and the fare is just over $500 cdn tax in... which is very good compared to what else is available around my dates. Was looking at May 5-16 but would need to do 1-17 to get this fare... oh well! Would rather spend the extra couple hundred on accomm etc for a longer stay than spend it on airfare for a shorter trip!! I wonder if I wait if the fare will go down closer to the $300 mark like you are finding... hmm... I DO like to get a deal!

Thanks again for your feedback y'all!
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Old 01-19-2010   #12 (permalink)
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Hi January! I have connected thru Mexico City many times. It's a breeze. My experience is tat you DO go thru customs in Mexico City.
You messed up. Within Mexico (for the most part) customs is final destination not port of entry process for air passengers. Did you notice those bright orange tags on your checked bags. The checked bags that you did not see (unless you did something really weird at check in) till you got to CUN. They are there to indicate to customs in terminal 2 that you are from a flight that connected to an international flight into Mexico.

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Easy, since it's not as busy as Cancun and then you are a domestic passenger when you land in Cancun so you just pick up your luggage, push the green button and off you go.
Double bad info. If you really are domestic arrival (as in not originating out of the country on a prior flight) in CUN you DON"T press the button. And you don't have a customs form to hand in when you get there because you are a domestic arrival. Mexico does not require customs if you are domestic e.g. you live in Mexico city and then fly to CUN. If you press the button and hand in the form you are actually technically an international arrival.

And if you also did customs in Mexico city you handed in the form there and pressed the button. And so you got a second form on a domestic flight and also handed that in in CUN when you pressed the button (which I don't even think is green).

Its great that you contradict me and imply I don't know what I am talking about, as I like the debate. But this bad info is just a source of confusion for less experienced travelers.

Did you drink a lot on that flight to CUN? Mexicana and Aeromexico have booze at not extra charge. Or is it that you are drinking now?

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Penny! Your feedback is reassuring.
......but not to someone that does this journey aprox. every month it is not. Think about that.
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Old 01-19-2010   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by JudyBluEyes View Post
I only connected there once, and it was a bit confusing! I never saw anything that resembled immigration or customs, I found a gate agent and asked about my connecting flight to CUN, she sent me to gate C16 or wherever, and they told me to go to area B or somewhere and it would be announced at 4:30, my flight was at 4:45... No problem, I found it on one of the monitors. Headed to my gate, boarded the plane, got off in CUN, got my bags and walked out the door! No one ever asked for any form of ID or my fm3 or any papers or anything!!
Yes that could happen with the old configuration of Terminal 1. Impossible now I believe.

So how did you handle leaving the country without a visa stamped and authorized by Mexican immigration?

Or is than something easily done with an FM3? (not easy with a tourist visa because you would not have one).
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Old 01-19-2010   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael View Post
You messed up. Within Mexico (for the most part) customs is final destination not port of entry process for air passengers. Did you notice those bright orange tags on your checked bags. The checked bags that you did not see (unless you did something really weird at check in) till you got to CUN. They are there to indicate to customs in terminal 2 that you are from a flight that connected to an international flight into Mexico.



Double bad info. If you really are domestic arrival (as in not originating out of the country on a prior flight) in CUN you DON"T press the button. And you don't have a customs form to hand in when you get there because you are a domestic arrival. Mexico does not require customs if you are domestic e.g. you live in Mexico city and then fly to CUN. If you press the button and hand in the form you are actually technically an international arrival.

And if you also did customs in Mexico city you handed in the form there and pressed the button. And so you got a second form on a domestic flight and also handed that in in CUN when you pressed the button (which I don't even think is green).

Its great that you contradict me and imply I don't know what I am talking about, as I like the debate. But this bad info is just a source of confusion for less experienced travelers.

Did you drink a lot on that flight to CUN? Mexicana and Aeromexico have booze at not extra charge. Or is it that you are drinking now?


......but not to someone that does this journey aprox. every month it is not. Think about that.
I have thought about it. I know Penny and I like her - if she says it's easy then I believe her. If she got a bit mixed up about how it went, exactly - I don't really give a rat's ass. I understood the part about customs - thanks. If one clears customs in MEX then one would not need to do so again in CUN - no form, no button. No "hapless tourist" here. Penny implied nothing regarding the accuracy of your info, nor do I believe she purposely contradicted you - she simply shared her experience. No need to get so defensive (and rude, ftr) about it Thanks again for the info...
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Old 01-19-2010   #15 (permalink)
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Geez sorry Michael if I can't remember if I pushed a green button or not since I make about 7 trips to Playa a year.
I DID go thru customs at the Mexico City airport. I entered Cancun from Domestic terminal......Maybe I didn't push a green button but I did have to show my baggage check ticket before they would let me leave with my luggage. So, maybe I was confused about light. MOST times I do have to push it.
Lighten up. One flight kind of blends into another after awhile. Maybe....just maybe, since it was a flight originating in Canada......customs was done differently. Not confusing for January. She, too, is coming from Canada.

Thanks January. I may see you there at that time as well. I would probably wait a bit for the prices to come down. I'll facebook you to let you know the sites where they send you the price drops on a daily basis.
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