Aeromexico is the premier international airline and flag carrier of Mexico. Using a fleet of Boeing 787 aircraft, the airline reaches plenty of long-haul destinations across South America, Asia, and Europe. Recently, Simple Flying had the opportunity to fly the airline from Mexico City to São Paulo. Here’s what we thought about the experience during the pandemic.
Aeromexico has two different Boeing 787 models in its fleet. The airline has both the smaller 787-8 and the larger 787-9. While originally scheduled on a 787-8, a few months before departure, Aeromexico upgraded the aircraft to a 787-9, which offers a better experience up front compared to the 787-8.
Aeromexico offers 36 business class seats. Called “Clase Premier,” the airline offers passengers a flat-bed offering. There are 30 seats between the first two doors of the aircraft. Behind the second set of doors, there is an intimate cabin of six seats.
The seats a reverse herringbone-style. This is much better than the 787-8, which is in a 2-2-2 forward-facing lie-flat option. The reverse herringbone configuration is in a 1-2-1 configuration and offers plenty of privacy.
On this flight, I was in seat 1J. Given the evening departure time of the flight and the fact that I had come in on a connecting flight with a relatively long layover in Mexico City, I chose this seat ahead of time, so I could be served quickly after takeoff and then head to bed.
The one downside to some reverse herringbone configurations is that the footwell can be a little tight. Up in the bulkhead, it did not feel like I had much more room, but there was still plenty of room for my feet and storage for my shoes underneath.
The best thing about Aeromexico’s configuration is the amount of storage space. There was a large and deep storage panel where the handheld controller was placed. This is also where the headphone jack and universal power outlet was located.
There is also a smaller compartment, which was a handy spot to store things like a passport and boarding pass for the duration of the flight.
Right up against the side of the seat was a little light that turned on by pushing it open.
There was another storage compartment in the armrest jutting up against the aisle. There was a water bottle here when I boarded.
The seat controls were in an electronic panel located just under where the storage cubbies are up against the window. The best part about this was that it was responsive and intuitive, and it was not placed in a position where you would accidentally hit it midflight.
The seat itself is a highly competitive product and offered plenty of privacy thanks to the side wings on the seat’s shell. I could not directly see anybody next to me in row one, which is not something you get in other products.
In lie-flat modes
The flight itself was as long-haul redeye, so getting a decent amount of rest is paramount. In this configuration, I found it easiest to sleep on my side, as there was plenty of room in the footrest, and the bed was the perfect length for me.
If you are taller than six feet, however, you might find the configuration a little tight. Unfortunately, not a lot of products are available that work well for tall passengers.
Waiting at my seat upon boarding was a bedding set. I really appreciated the pillow and blanket. Both felt plush and were plenty comfortable for the flight. Aeromexico packaged the blanket, pillow, and headphones in one package.
The room for improvement with this product would be the headphones. They were pretty mediocre, which was fine since I was rewatching a film I was already acquainted with, but definitely not up to par for many international business class products.
The amenity kit, however, was fantastic. It was well-stocked and had a lot of useful products.
The notebook was perhaps the first time I’ve seen something like that onboard an aircraft. The slippers were a nice touch, which needs to be stocked in more business class amenity kits.
Despite the ongoing health crisis, Aeromexico offered pre-departure beverages. I selected a glass of champagne. Other options include orange juice or water. As far as pre-departure beverages go, however, the pour was quite small.
Due to the ongoing crisis, Aeromexico has suspended offering menus. So, not too long after takeoff, probably about twenty minutes later, the meal service began with a round of drinks and then food. Understandably, the flight attendants were quick with their descriptions. I selected a chicken option.
It appeared to be a grilled chicken breast with a side of sauce, polenta, and asparagus. The chicken appeared to be wrapped in a grilled ham. I got a side of bread with it.
Meal services have been consolidated across the board, so the entree, salad, and dessert were all served on one tray, with the salad and dessert standard across options. The salad was a garden variety salad with bacon bits. For dessert, the airline offered tiramisu.
The pandemic has led airlines to rethink their meal services. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing as, on a redeye, I did appreciate the efficiency of the service. Normally, meal services with multiple courses in multiple services can take upwards of two hours. However, about one hour after takeoff, I was already putting my seat into the lie-flat position, which meant more time to sleep.
The lack of menus does mean, at times, you’re doing a little bit of guessing as to what you’re eating, but it is a small detail. Perhaps Aeromexico could look at options to providing the menu on the inflight entertainment system instead of passing out paper menus.
After an overnight rest, I woke up just over an hour before arrival. This is where the service got strange. Several flight attendants passed by me, wished me good morning, and I waited for the breakfast service. The cabin was relatively quiet, and I did not hear the traditional clang of silverware and dishes, so I assumed the service had not started.
However, about 40 minutes after I woke up, I was feeling peckish with 30 minutes to São Paulo, so I flagged down a flight attendant and asked for breakfast. I was presented with strawberry crepes and told the service had concluded before I had woken up, which felt like it happened a little too early in the flight.
The breakfast was light and tasted great. I appreciated how it was light, airy, and easy to wolf down in 15 minutes so the flight attendants could prepare the cabin for arrival.
The inflight entertainment system was on-demand, and there was a great selection of movies and TV shows that will keep people occupied for a long-haul flight. The screen was also large and crisp, which reminds passengers of the modern nature of this jet.
For some reason, the WiFi was not working on my phone, but it is available for passengers. After trying a couple of times, I decided to leave it be for the flight since sleeping was a priority for me.
I interacted with three flight attendants, all of whom were very jovial and glad to have us all onboard the plane. Flying through the pandemic, there are two different types of flight attendants. The first type is thankful to have people onboard the aircraft after months of pain and ache, which continues, and they do their best to make passengers feel welcome and safe. The second type is more upset about the ongoing crisis, a little drained, and less enthusiastic to see passengers.
All the flight attendants working this flight were of the first type, making the long-haul flight a complete joy. Every flight attendant treated every passenger with respect and a positive demeanor. Even when I asked for breakfast, the flight attendant was quick to offer the meal and even apologized that I would not have a lot of time to finish it.
Flying during the pandemic
This was my first long-haul trip of 2020 and my first international flight since a quick trip to Colombia on Delta’s Boeing 767-300ER in March. Coming in, I knew that Aeromexico had upped their cleaning standards and also mandated masks for passengers.
I initially expected that sleeping with a mask would be uncomfortable and something I would not appreciate. However, I did not feel that at all. You can build yourself up to it, if you are nervous about wearing a mask, by wearing the mask or style of mask you intend to wear on an aircraft ahead of time for relatively decent amounts of time.
Upon boarding, Aeromexico offered passengers a pump of hand sanitizer. I was expecting a wipe or something in a little sachet, so I was not very prepared for it, but I appreciated that it was on offer.
International travel is not for everyone
If you are a nervous flyer, I highly recommend that you reconsider long-haul and international travel. Entry restrictions can change almost overnight, though I was pretty confident that Brazil would not alter its entry protocols. Many health agencies are urging people to reconsider their travel, or else to travel with certain safeguards.
Before and after travel, I had ensured I would be able to quarantine and be tested, so if I did pick up the virus, I would not spread it to anyone. The risk of viral transmission on an aircraft is mitigated by wearing masks and sanitizing or washing your hands, but things like a meal service can make it difficult to wear a mask for the entire duration of the flight. Taking precautions is very important right now, so consider for yourself and loop in any healthcare providers, friends, or family members who may be impacted by your travel for your plans and come to a consensus. For some people, saying no to long-haul international right now may be the best option.
The final verdict
Flying Aeromexico is a great experience. As a SkyTeam airline with codeshare agreements and partnerships with Delta Air Lines and now LATAM, the carrier is a great option for flying to and from South America. It is also not as costly for anyone pursuing Delta status as some other options and well worth it. There is room for improvement, including a better system for serving passengers’ breakfast in the morning and better headphones, but it is a great option. Even though the airline is operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, it is still providing an excellent product.
Have you flown on Aeromexico’s Boeing 787-9 business class? What was your experience like? Have you flown long-haul international during the pandemic? Let us know in the comments!