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A Trip on Aeromexico’s Queen Of The Skies - The 777. SFO/MEX/EZE

A Trip on Aeromexico’s Queen Of The Skies - The 777. SFO/MEX/EZE

Old Jun 23, 17, 4:36 pm
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A Trip on Aeromexico’s Queen Of The Skies - The 777. SFO/MEX/EZE

So often, one hears “I wouldn’t fly XYZ if my life depended on it” or similar, yet so further often one hears the silent hypocrisy when the price was right. And so, when I need to go to EZE, when premium fares on the other carriers are way too high or have other restrictions, like 10 day minimum stays for fares I can live with, AM it is. It is also the most direct one-stop routing, and usually offers a 787 on the MEX/EZE segment. AM also earns me EQMs in my Alaska Airlines account, and so off I went. A blue 2013 Honda Fit transported me and 3 bags to the San Francisco International Airport, and I went directly to the AM Sky Priority line to receive my boarding passes and check two of the three bags. I attempted OLCI, which functioned somewhat, but had an “OOPS” message when trying to generate the BPs. I feared SSSSs, but this turned out not to be the case.

The AM Sky Priority line does not provide (1) a special carpet, (2) “while you wait” crudite and aperitivos, nor (3) seating. It is not in a separate room. Nonetheless, perusing to the right and seeing all the unwashed masses in the Clase Basura line, one still appreciates the Sky Priority Line ... except when it is not moving. “Passenger Zero” (I’ll call her) was consuming an inordinate amount of time, and she wasn’t even traveling. It sounded like her bag was somewhere in the world, and from overhearing somewhat, I’d bet that she didn’t follow MEX procedures, and just didn’t claim her bag and re-drop it @ MEX, as is required. The Sky Priority agent finally went to ask other agents to help with her line. A friendly agent then assisted me, and was frustrated trying to get me the boarding passes. Well, she got the SFO/MEX to print. Then, she got assistance. I was hoping that maybe there was an aircraft swap to the 787. Nope. For some reason, the system was requiring her to go directly into the MEX/EZE flight (as if I were in MEX) for direct BP issuance. I finally received my BPs with Precheck, and only took a half hour from first entering the Sky Priority line (as #3 in the line).

Precheck - no one in line. Off to the Air France (Skyteam) Lounge. Did someone arrange to have “most troublesome people” get in front of me at every line on this day? Person in front of me wanted to pay for entry (I suppose they permit it) and the cost is $50. She did not have a functioning credit card. She asked if the lounge would take cash. This must have been a first, but she agreed that they would, but had no change. This was troublesome, and after a few minutes more, the guest without exact change had to leave to go find some. My entry process took about 30 seconds. And then, the peace and tranquility of a luxury airline lounge awaited me. The peace and tranquility didn’t last a minute.

I took a small table, poured myself a glass of wine, took a snack, and then two kids kept running up and down the length of the lounge, screaming, running, playing ... After a few of their laps, I went up to the mother (about 2 tables away, there weren’t a lot of vacant places to sit, and my stuff was already set up), and said “Can you please control your kids?” (Another nearby couple looked shocked yet very pleased ... I told them “It is relax time.”) The mother said “I’m trying.” I replied “No you’re not. You’re just sitting there doing nothing.” I cared not to go to the front desk as my food/drinkstuffs were set up. I was not about to leave everything unattended. Several minutes later, “dad” returned, and after a short while, the family departed.

Approximately an hour before flight time, I left and went up to the China Airlines lounge. It isn’t much of any excitement, but it opens (seasonally) just about an hour before the AM flight boards. I was the only patron. The foodstuffs were much improved from prior visits. Congee with pork, spicy chicken wings, and a few other items. I had a single chicken wing (and of course, the proverbial prayer). So quiet. I then left and went to the gate area.

Aeromexico, “a proud member of Skyteam,” and partially owned by Delta, has Zone Number lines. When I arrived, I was #5 in the Sky Priority Zone 1 line. Honestly, I’m likely not flying AM if I’m not in Zone 1. The zone 4/5 lines were quite long. It was what should have been boarding time. After several minutes, the gate agent spoke to the zone 4/5 lines, and they dissipated. A moment later, she came up to us. All I can say is it is a good thing that most airline terminals are wide and long. Otherwise, the walls would break from agents’ noses growing and extending so long due to their incredible lies. Yes, due to “security issues” we could not remain in our respective zone number lines at that time. We all shifted a few paces to the right, and laughed about the lies. When boarding commenced, we all shifted back, extending courtesies to our pre-“security issue” respective line placement. Finally on board, the FA offered us juice or water. I had water. Water is life. It is also far superior to boxed juice. After some boarding delays, we were off, and a cornucopia of inflight delights were served. At just about midnight, the FA brought the cart down the aisle and offered us a choice, yes a choice, yes a choice, of snack plates. I’ve been on this route at this hour a few times, and this was the first “choice” flight. Having had the ham y cheese craw sont previously, I opted for the bagel and lox. What a lovely portion of tasty lox, served with a ball of cream cheese adorned with chives. On the other hand, that bagel-shaped item, cold and hard, your bubbie would have taken one look and said “You call this a bagel? Feh.” It would have then gone into the trash. Washed down with a couple of glasses of vino tinto and some water (and a couple of chocolate squares), this was a perfectly acceptable snack de la madrugada. After almost four hours in the air, and pretty much “on time,” we landed @ MEX, and waited, and waited, and waited ... for approximately a half hour for our gate to open ... yes, at 5:40 AM ... until 6:15 AM.

Whenever people complain about MEX connecting “tramites” I remind them that the USA does the same thing with Int’l/Int’l transit passengers ... not that I like it, but it is what it is. The immigration line was quick - less than 10 minutes total, and then the bags ... they started coming out quickly. And then stopped. And then started again. And then stopped. The carousel must have turned off and on at least 4 times. The priority tags served absolutely no use, well, except for their decorative purposes. My bags, along with another guy who was evicted “for security reasons” from the Zone 1 boarding line, were amongst the last to be offloaded. Like walking with high heels down cobblestone streets, so are the purpose of the Priority bag tags. Pretty, and not functional. But since appearances matter, and this way people will KWIA, the tags must stay. After receiving my bags, I went through the Nothing to Declare line (no more button to push) and I dropped them off at the baggage re-check. I was then off to the connecting flight security line. Confusing many connecting passengers (mostly USA origin at this hour) were rules that all electronics (including cellphones) needed to be removed from the bags, but shoes remained on and liquids remained in the bags. This took about ten minutes, and then it was off to visit the array of luxury lounges @ MEX Terminal 2.

I started with the newly remodeled Aeromexico Salon Premier on the “International” side (a few just a couple of minutes walk from the other one) and as I entered, I thought it was somewhat improved. The bathroom situation was much improved (the old men’s room was an overcrowded joke), but otherwise, there was no vast improvement. The spa moved (where the showers are) and the shower room was better. Still no hair dryer. Still too steamy. You are provided with one towel. There is a paper towel dispenser for your other towels. As I learned, the water lever is quite sensitive, so if you get too close and lean on it while drying yourself, your single towel will become saturated with the water you just accidentally turned on. Still no toilet in the shower room. If you sit on the corner bench while putting your shoes on, you will learn how unstable it is, sending you down to the floor if you don’t sit far back enough. Yet I was glad to have showered, and have brought my own hair, foot and body dryer. The lounge was quite crowded, so after a coffee, snack and shower, I decided to put my Priority Pass to good use, and walked down the corridor to the Aeromar lounge. This is quite a spartan lounge, but had coffee, a clean bathroom, and plenty of available seating. This was exactly what I wanted at this hour. After about a half hour, I wandered to find the newish Aeromexico Lounge sponsored by Heineken. I didn’t find it at first - it is located at the far end of the bus-terminal-like “Gate 75" - the regional jet area. Despite food offerings as ample as the Aeromar lounge, it was a nice bright room with ample plugs, seating, and what looked like respectable bar offerings. After a short time there, it was time to take that walk, the walk to my gate, for my first flight on Aeromexico’s 777, the Queen of the Skies.

I arrived at the gate just prior to what should have been boarding time. The Sky Priority line already had several people waiting, and the other lines were quite long. Unlike SFO, this was not a security matter. I saw some crew board (a good sign), and then we waited and waited. And waited. I finally boarded about 20 minutes prior to scheduled departure time, not a good sign for an on time departure when one is in Zone 1 on a 777.

This was my first time on an AM 777 - The Queen of the Aeromexico Skies. When I say this, one must think of a queen who is about to abdicate the throne, not one that is adorned with crown jewels and shall reign past her diamond jubilee. In fact, AM is down to three of these gems. Despite prior warnings, it wasn’t as bad as I had expected. The configuration is 2-3-2.

1) The seats aren’t as bad as the AA 2-3-2 slantyseat 777s.
2) The footwell was not like sliding into an MRI.
3) The cabin wasn’t fully booked, so I moved to a center section with the middle seat open.
4) The pillows were decent.
5) The crew was nice.

As far as the 79˘ that they spent on the food, here’s what I ate (or didn’t eat).

PDB was a choice of water or juice. Breakfast is served after takeoff. Choice of a cereal/yogurt plate, or a “hot” (as in slightly warmer than room temp) meal with “chilaquile-stuffed omelette” with black beans. This was my choice, and was not awful. I had some chileno vino blanco along with this, in the hopes that I would nap afterward. The menu said there would be snacks available in the galley, but I didn’t venture on to see. Menu? Yes, menu. This is the first MEX/EZE flight where I’ve received a menu. The IFE was an old style personal screen (which was incredibly difficult to get out of the armrest) and was not awful. Approximately 3.5 hours out from EZE (why so early on an 8.5 hour flight, where breakfast wasn’t that long ago), the second service commenced. The famous AM little cheese plate arrived, and I tried some champagne, along with a red wine that I did not love. As I didn’t hate it, I did have some more.

After eating some of the cheese plate (served with some little crunchy bits smaller than Cheez-its, nothing you could actually put your cheese on), the peez doo reesistawnz came. The choices were (1) an asparagus plate - this was mandatory, and not a choice; (2) the salad - also mandatory, coming on the tray automatically, with a choice of the oil/vinegar bottle on the tray, or not using the oil/vinegar bottle on the tray; and, (3) the main course. Choices were Chicken, Beef, and Pasta. I chose the chicken. Depending on where you went to school would determine if you thought the food better or worse than your high school cafeteria food. I passed on the roll (a choice of no choice of roll). I ate the chicken. I hate asparagus. The salad was pretty wilted, and I left those leaves to get incinerated at my arrival airport. The crew then served a small square of some chocolate–mousselike product, which I washed down with more red wine that I did not love.

Dinner was all cleaned up somewhere near the coast of southern Peru. Still, three hours to go, at which point I decided that this seat is hurting my back. I continued to drink water, and try and snooze for the remainder of the flight.

All in all, AM service (on both segments) was better than a few years ago. SFO/MEX now has champagne, and uses real-sized glassware, not the 3 oz. thimbles for wine of years’ past, and there was a choice of snackplate. Also the 737-700 has permanently disappeared from the route. As far as the Queen of the Skies, unfortunately I have to fly her again in a few days, shortly before her abdication. Nevertheless, I had no reason to be over optimistic, but somehow when you smiled, I could brave bad weather. And the weather wasn’t that bad. Most fortunately (if you’ve read my prior AM trip reports), the salad bowl has remained the same. If there is one reason to fly AM, it is for their salad bowls.

Last edited by Eastbay1K; Jun 23, 17 at 6:01 pm
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Old Jun 23, 17, 5:47 pm
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Glad to hear it was tolerable!
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Old Jun 24, 17, 10:26 am
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Originally Posted by adrouault View Post
Glad to hear it was tolerable!
It was. After all, once upon a time, these seats were "state of the art." Unfortunately, art is subjective, and I'd prefer to not subject myself to this art many more times.

How a top chef wants to associate himself with this menu is beyond me ... but we all have a price.
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Old Jun 24, 17, 2:24 pm
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Left a lot to be desired, but it got you to BA, and not in coach! haha

Yes, we all have a price. Y is at 990 r/t for my dates, from YYZ (i'm in Western NY these days, closer than NYC), And I got my J deal for 1200 pp. So it was an obvious choice.

I'm really looking forward to my trip. Your trip report makes me a little less worried about the flight!
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Old Jun 24, 17, 5:27 pm
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I believe AM really, really struggles to fill J with paying pax, and I suppose it's not really a surprise why.

Reminds me of when I was flying AMS-MEX on AM back in January and received an email from AM offering me an upgrade to J for about half of what the Plusgrade system minimum was, I think it was about $650 once converted from Pesos. I didn't take it and emailed the guy back (since it was an actual sales rep sending the email) and told him I'd take it for $350, which he declined saying that it was worth 60,000 pesos and the offer was already discounted.
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Old Jun 24, 17, 6:02 pm
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No pictures?
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Old Jun 24, 17, 6:08 pm
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Originally Posted by worldtrav View Post
No pictures?
FT doesn't need any more food and seat pics, IM(nsh)O. Plenty of TRs have plenty of pics. I believe that colo(u)rful prose is a better read than a series of photos. While wilted greens and sorry asparagus may make for fine modern art, I can't say it adds to a TR.
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Old Jun 24, 17, 6:21 pm
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Exclamation

Originally Posted by krazykanuck View Post
I believe AM really, really struggles to fill J with paying pax, and I suppose it's not really a surprise why.
For myself, (1) the lie flat seat on the longhaul (usually, but not on the Queen), (2) the baggage allowance (I'm flying a partner where my status gets me nothing), and (3) the departure/arrival hour work well for me. I like being able to have a full workday, leave for the airport after the commute, and get to EZE just in time to unpack and go to sleep, with the next day all "fresh." Otherwise, it means leaving the following day, and arriving the mid-morning after, not feeling so "fresh."

If LATAM restarts the SFO/LIM, I doubt AM will be much in the mix anymore.
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Old Jun 24, 17, 8:08 pm
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Any pictures to go along with the text?
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Old Jun 25, 17, 12:54 am
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Originally Posted by byromania View Post
Any pictures to go along with the text?
No. See Post #7 , supra.
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Old Jun 25, 17, 9:52 am
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Lately, I've flown a lot of AM doing JFK-MEX-UIO, JFK-MEX-SAP, IAD-MEX-BOG journeys all in Y and what I've found is that with AM, the customer has to research the aircraft type in advance.

JFK-MEX on the 788 or 789 is truly a pleasure to fly, and on the 7S8 is perfectly okay
MEX-SAP for 2+ hours on an E170 was murder
MEX-UIO redeye (dep 1:30 AM, arr 7:00 AM, flight time less than 4 hrs) was murder on an old 738 with USA registration
IAD-MEX was disgraceful on an old leased 737-700 with Ireland registration
MEX-BOG-MEX was a pleasurable flight on brand new (new plane smell) 7S8.

One crazy flight that AM runs is the JFK to Monterrey flight which is 5+ hours on a E170. Crazy, but my friend from MTY said he'd pay a lot extra for the nonstop even on a regional jet than connect at MEX, IAH, or DFW
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Old Jun 25, 17, 10:03 am
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Originally Posted by worldtrav View Post
No pictures?
Yep, I am a visual person as well and would like to have seen the pics. A picture says a thousand words.
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Old Jun 25, 17, 10:51 am
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Originally Posted by HALA330 View Post
One crazy flight that AM runs is the JFK to Monterrey flight which is 5+ hours on a E170. Crazy, but my friend from MTY said he'd pay a lot extra for the nonstop even on a regional jet than connect at MEX, IAH, or DFW


That sounds agonizing. Truly.
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Old Jun 25, 17, 1:02 pm
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Originally Posted by djjaguar64 View Post
Yep, I am a visual person as well and would like to have seen the pics. A picture says a thousand words.
Sometimes a thousand words are more interesting. For some. For others, my TR style is not their cup of tea, as you cannot see the cup, nor the tea.
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Old Jun 25, 17, 7:51 pm
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Hope you're having a great time! Please share some highlights of your time in BA if you can.
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