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Mexico City to Chicago... via Paris and 24 Hours of Air France La Première

Mexico City to Chicago... via Paris and 24 Hours of Air France La Première

Old Apr 4, 21, 7:32 am
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Mexico City to Chicago... via Paris and 24 Hours of Air France La Première

It’s been well over a year since my last Air France La Première flight and I’ve been going thru serious La Première withdrawal. The bottom line is that I need an Air France La Première fix and I’ve been determined to find an itinerary that would work. This proved to be a major challenge considering that US-only passport holders can’t actually enter France or anywhere else in the EU at the moment. I tried and booked a couple of times earlier in the year but on both occasions, my plans were disrupted my cancelled flights. LAX-CDG-IST and then MEX-CDG-HND fell by the wayside as flights were cancelled.

The new 3 day PCR test requirement to return to the US makes mileage runs even more difficult since I don't want to test and be stranded overseas by a false positive. So I looked for a return fast enough that I could use my negative US test for both departure and return.

Fast forward to today and I’m off to Mexico City to fly Air France’s best in the world La Première from Mexico City to Paris, connecting to… Chicago. Of course.

Although I had my PCR on Tuesday, my first stop this morning was the Clarity Covid test facility at (across from) Terminal 6 to try their PCR testing operation. Easy online registration, booking and payment. I took the 7:30a-8:00a window and arrived early at 7:15a. Once the 7:00am appointments were processed, I was able to join the short queue and had a swab up the nose just before 7:30am. They promised results in 3-5 hours and indeed, I got my results back in under 4 hours, while I was inflight to Mexico City. Cost was a reasonable $125. An all around excellent experience with very pleasant and efficient staff. And even though you don’t get the result in time for a US departure, testing the day of US departure gives you a potential extra day before returning without having to rely on a test at your destination.









After my test, I walked to T4 and AA PreCheck.











Then over to the Bradley Terminal to see if the Amex Centurion Lounge had opened.







Sadly, still not open with absolutely no idea when they would open. I passed on the "to go" baggie and headed back to T4 and the Admirals Club.



Gate lice central at Gate 41. Let me guess. JFK of course.





And to the Admirals Club.



AA traffic has clearly improved since my last visit, as AA has opened up the Flagship Lounge as an extension of the Admirals Club.





But not First Dining. Hopefully some day.



This meant plenty of room and seating for everyone today.















No change in the lame food options.





Breakfast, Admirals Club style.



Although buy options are available if you are so inclined.



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Last edited by SFO777; Apr 4, 21 at 7:39 am
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Old Apr 4, 21, 7:32 am
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Los Angeles LAX to Mexico City MEX
American AA 2457
Oasis-ized 737-800
10:00am-2:30pm
April 1, 2021
Seat 3F

At 40 minutes before departure I headed downstairs to convenient Gate 40, located just across from the Admirals Club entrance. They were already boarding Group 7 by the time I arrived. Full flight today with lots of gate checked bags.



AA's dreadful new cram-em-in Oasis seating. Flimsy seat with no seat back video. This is a seat for 90 minutes max, not nearly four hours like today. Ugh.

















Another gorgeous morning in Southern California.



Every passenger gets an AA baggie of water, Biscoff and sanitizer.



Open bar and sandwich bag.





Turkey Sandwich and chocolate chip cookie. Tumbler is from my DIY travel kit for crappy US3 domestic flights.



Turkey sandwich was actually edible. Much better than what UA or woeful DL offers.



Interesting scenery on descent to MEX.



Wow, there's a lot of people here... over 20 million in the metro area...















The long, long trek to Immigration.





Yikes. This terminal has seen better days.





The foreigner queue wasn't too bad... much better than the mob scene last year in Cabo.



LOL at these three dudes in full head-to-toe hazmat gear. Sheesh.

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Old Apr 4, 21, 7:33 am
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Since this was my first time at MEX, I had no idea where I was going and just followed the flow.





International departures sounds like a good direction to follow....



Definitely a conveniently location Hilton.



I turned left, followed a few more signs and lo and behold....



With nearly four hours before departure, I had plenty of time to check it out. Pleasant but meh atmosphere. Lack of any windows and view to the outside gave the place a bit of a dark, dungeon like feel.











On the other hand, staff was simply superb and attentive. Drinks are complimentary.



But food was not. There was a limited menu albeit with very reasonable prices. My wagyu burger was only 220 MXN or about 10.75 USD.


Last edited by SFO777; Apr 5, 21 at 8:15 pm
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Old Apr 4, 21, 9:29 am
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Originally Posted by SFO777 View Post

Another sign you're @ MEX....welcome Ilyushin 96's!


Last edited by enviroian; Apr 4, 21 at 9:38 am
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Old Apr 4, 21, 9:31 am
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Amazing start to the TR! Jealous as always but also happy to live vicariously through your travels. 🙂🙏
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Old Apr 4, 21, 11:37 am
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YAY 🥳🥳, the SFO777 decadence is back 😁😁

Told ya the MEX idea would work 🤣
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Old Apr 4, 21, 12:21 pm
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Originally Posted by enviroian View Post
Another sign you're @ MEX....welcome Ilyushin 96's!
Good catch enviroian. That's too funny.

Originally Posted by injian View Post
Amazing start to the TR! Jealous as always but also happy to live vicariously through your travels. 🙂🙏
Thank you very much injian. This short trip was really a treat.

Originally Posted by Short hair Francis View Post
YAY 🥳🥳, the SFO777 decadence is back. Told ya the MEX idea would work.
Thanks Francis. Worked like a charm. Even though they were two separate one way awards, a lucked out with a great Flying Blue agent who had no issue putting them both on one ticket. So it wound up being a regular connection, albeit an odd one.

Last edited by SFO777; Apr 4, 21 at 12:31 pm
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Old Apr 4, 21, 12:39 pm
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The shortest way........
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Old Apr 4, 21, 1:05 pm
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Great report so far, looking forward to the rest.
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Old Apr 4, 21, 1:06 pm
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Looking forward to read about this decadence. The best I can do right now is J To GRU on AA and even the decadent Krug at DFW is finished 🤦🏽‍♂️
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Old Apr 4, 21, 1:41 pm
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Wow. What are these lounges doing food for pay? I have never seen this in Europe/MEA/Asia at all.
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Old Apr 4, 21, 4:08 pm
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Great as always, SFO777. The picture in the cappuccino is quite the possibly the greatest attention to detail (if not even a little over the top!) I've ever seen from an airline employee on this forum. Holy cow.

And yes, when you land in places like MEX, you forget how big some cities really are. LA and NYC are massive, but still nowhere near places like Mexico City, Moscow, Tokyo, and Shanghai (and others) in density and size.
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Old Apr 4, 21, 5:15 pm
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Great report! Love the creative routings. And are you kidding me! That looks so much better than the Blue Label garbage United is serving. You will see- if you haven't already.

Last edited by glasman19; Apr 4, 21 at 5:21 pm
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Old Apr 4, 21, 5:30 pm
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Originally Posted by offerendum View Post
The shortest way........
LOL. Not quite.

Originally Posted by FlyEndeavorAir View Post
Great report so far, looking forward to the rest.
Thanks very much FlyEndeavorAir.

Originally Posted by anaggie View Post
Looking forward to read about this decadence. The best I can do right now is J To GRU on AA and even the decadent Krug at DFW is finished 🤦🏽‍♂️

Originally Posted by GratefulSmile View Post
Wow. What are these lounges doing food for pay? I have never seen this in Europe/MEA/Asia at all.
I was a little surprised as well, but apparently that's SOP and has been for year for all 3 Centurion Lounges in MEX.

Originally Posted by UAL250 View Post
Great as always, SFO777. The picture in the cappuccino is quite the possibly the greatest attention to detail (if not even a little over the top!) I've ever seen from an airline employee on this forum. Holy cow. .
Thanks so much UAL250. The effort she made to find a pic and then upload to the cappuccino was simply amazing. For those that haven't fast forwarded to SFO777.com, here is what UAL250 was referring to...



Originally Posted by glasman19 View Post
Are you kidding me! That looks so much better than the Blue Label garbage United is serving.

I had that Blue Label option on my return ORD-SNA flight Friday night, but decided that I'd seen enough horror pics that I opted for what the FA described as "our new Snackbox" which was the same old, same old just with a new box design. Carb and calorie central...



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Last edited by SFO777; Apr 5, 21 at 8:21 am
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Old Apr 4, 21, 7:45 pm
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How was the burger at the CL MEX? I've never ordered from the paid menu, but my experience with the Amex lounges there is that breakfast is good, but the rest of the day menu is pretty forgettable. The margs are delicioso though!

I wonder how AF goes about catering the F meals. Guessing they double cater ex-CDG, since those meals don't strike me as something the local contractors would be capable of provisioning. I say that having sampled AM J's finest meals ex-MEX

Great start though. I'm not sure I'd have thought to time the covid test to be able to use the same one for the inbound EU and inbound US!
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