Volaris, Interjet, Or Viva Aerobus – Which Mexican LCC Is Best?

At first glance, Volaris, Viva Aerobus and Interjet look very much alike. The three are low-cost carriers. They operate mainly in Mexico along with some international routes. And they all have Airbus fleets. So, which one is better?

Viva, Volaris and Interjet
Which low-cost carrier in Mexico is the best? Photo: Tomás del Coro vía Flickr/ Carlos Valenzuela vía Wikimedia/ Superjet International

They share similar origins

Interjet started in December 2005. Meanwhile, Volaris and Viva Aerobus initiated operations one year later, in March and November 2006, respectively. 

At the time, the three low-cost carriers started very small, in a country dominated by two historic airlines; Aeromexico and Mexicana de Aviación. Viva Aerobus operated from Monterrey, the second most important city in Mexico, while Volaris and Interjet were relegated to Toluca International Airport due to the lack of slots at Mexico City’s airport. 

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After the disappearance of Mexicana in 2010, the three carriers won slots at Mexico City’s Airport and started a decade during which they grew exponentially. 

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Currently, Volaris is the main domestic operator in Mexico. The carrier outgrew Aeromexico, which is currently constrained by the ongoing MAX crisis. Interjet, even with the debacle of its Sukhoi fleet, reached the 15 million passenger mark in 2019. And Viva had double-digit growth in every operative indicator by the third quarter of last year. 

Interjet
Interjet is growing beside the problems it has with the Sukhoi fleet. Photo: Daniel Martínez Garbuno

Mexico’s domestic market is booming

Historically, Mexico is a country more connected by ground than by air. Still, like is happening everywhere else in the world, the air industry is taking off. As Luis Felipe de Oliveira, CEO of the Latin American and Caribbean Transport Association pointed out for November 2019,

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“The domestic markets of Brazil and Mexico represented 87% of the total growth of domestic passengers in the region”.

For this month, in particular, the Mexican market grew 7.6% accommodating 324,000 additional passengers. 

This means that the sky is the limit for Mexican carriers, pun intended. Almost every important airport in the country registered growth in passengers for 2019, except for some hubs like Cozumel in the Mexican Caribbean. 

This is the reason that explains the constant battle among low-cost carriers. Currently, Volaris operates 188 total routes, of which 121 are domestic; Viva Aerobus has 119 routes, 100 of them being domestic, and Interjet offers 87 routes, paired almost equally between domestic and international (42 vs 45). Interjet also has an expansion plan for 2020.  

Viva Aerobus
The Mexican domestic market is up for grabs for low-cost carriers like Viva Aerobus. Photo: Daniel Martínez Garbuno

Price, seats, scores: let’s settle it

Ok, so we’ve seen that the three low-cost carriers have a good panorama ahead. Now, let’s settle: which one is better?

For comparison, let’s take the biggest route for the Mexican market: Mexico City-Cancun. 

Interjet offers a flight almost every hour with four fares. Ultra-Light, which only allows on-board luggage, for $82.44 USD/$1,542 MXN; Light which includes a 25 kg luggage only for flights in Mexico and Latin America for $86.35 USD/$1,615 MXN; Óptima for $115.59 USD/$2,162 MXN and Priority for $197.45 USD/$ 3,693 MXN. 

Besides the auction system promoted by Viva Aerobus as reported by local media outlet A21, this carrier offers three fares: Viva Light for $60.90 USD/$ 1,139 MXN; Viva Básico for $61.43 USD/$ 1,149 MXN and Viva Smart for $73.35 USD/$ 1,372 MXN. 

Finally, Volaris offers three fares: Basic for $67.31 USD/$ 1,259 MXN; Classic for $85.97 USD/$1,608 MXN and Plus for $91.85 USD/$1,718 USD. In conclusion, advantage Viva. 

Volaris
At first glance, Volaris appears as the most expensive of the three Mexican’s low-cost carriers. Photo: Volaris

In terms of seat pitch, Interjet offers 86 cm (34 inches) in all of its fleet, comprised of seven A321neo, six A321, three A320neo, 47 A320 and 22 Sukhoi SuperJet 100. The other two airlines don’t disclose the length of their seats. So, according to SeatGuru, the pitch for Volaris is between 30 and 32 inches and Viva is between 29 and 30 inches. Advantage: Interjet. 

Lastly, neither of the carriers is rated by Skytrax, but Airline Quality gives Volaris and Interjet a three out 10 and Viva Aerobus a two out of 10. But, as we saw, the favorite of the flying public in Mexico is, by far, Volaris. 

What do you think? Which Mexican LCC is your favorite?

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Elizabeth

Volaris is the worst!! We had the worst experience with this airline…. they lost my daughter’s luggage, they never responded to our calls they gave us the worst service in fact they don’t know what is the meaning of that word!! and if that weren’t enough … they opened their luggage and stole several belongings which she had bought with all her savings, it is a real injustice. I don’t recomend this airline at all. they don’t have good standards of quality and service.

Carlos I

Glad to see news about Mexican airlines.

Tom Boon

Thanks for the feedback, Carlos. Keep your eyes peeled for more!

Charlie

I believe there is another LCC called Aeromar. Viva Aerobus, has very good prices, but also many delays, that might make you lose a connection.

Fausto Imberti

INTERJET is the Best, my BEST. Love it.

Alice

We have traveled with our dog on Interjet. Excellent service, and we felt our fur-baby was in good hands. Will fly with Interjet!!

Redrado

When I west to Mexico I flew a lot in Interjet, it was great! Nice aircrafts and services. I was young tho, so I don’t remember much.

Jose

Interjet is the best even if I have to pay a little more than the other LCC airlines.

Raul

Volaris is the airline more horrible start with all employees, they have bad actitud and has everthing expensive

Hans

Between those 3 airlines I would always choose Interjet if available. Most comfortable of all 3. Volaris has the wider network which is the next option, but legroom is extremely limited so always have to pay extra for extra leg room on Volaris. I have never taken Viva, but friends and family have told me to avoid Viva whenever possible. Still I take Aeromexico the most, as they have the most frequencies to the routes that I usually fly and if the price is right, then I take Aeromexico first (even if their ground staff at Mexico City airport are… Read more »

Jose

I go with volaris , it was good not to mentioned aeromexico in this article .
This last one is the worst to me.

Dave

Volaris was unbearable when I had to fly them the first time for a four hour flight. The seat pitch was probably no more than 30. My knees were right up against the seat back in front. I am 5’8″ and could not recline at all!

Pierre

Interjet is definitely the best. Aeromexico is OK. I avoid Volaris : often dirty aircraft especially at the end of the day.
Have not flown Viva or Aeromar.