Aeromexico Clase Premier Review
Back in June I purchased a ticket in Aeromexico Clase Premier from San Fransisco to Buenos Aires (where I stayed at the Park Hyatt) with a layover in Mexico City for just over $1500 for Christmas 2015. This would be the standard price for an economy ticket on this route, but for Aeromexico Clase Premier, their version of Business class, this seemed like a good deal so I jumped on it. This was not just a mileage run; I was actually wanting to visit Buenos Aires and a bonus was that I would get to fly the long legs on a new 787.
Aeromexico is partnered with Alaska which means I would also earn 125% of miles flown towards elite status, or over 16,000 miles which get me to Alaska Gold 75k before the end of 2015. With my elite tier bonus miles I would net almost 30,000 redeemable miles from the trip.
Before boarding at SFO, Aeromexico Clase Premier passengers are able to access the AirFrance KLM lounge located on the main floor of the International Terminal just past TSA. This is the same lounge that you can use at SFO if you have a Priority Pass from Citi Prestige or Amex Platinum cards. It leaves a lot to be desired, especially since they close at 10:00pm and my AM flight wasn’t until 11:00. There were drinks and a few snacks, but I can’t say more about the lounge. If I had more time, I would have left security and gone to the Amex Centurion Lounge.
Boarding of our 737 to Mexico City didn’t start until after the plane was scheduled to depart. No, the flight wasn’t delayed, this is just how Aeromexico seems to do it. People began forming lines in their “zone” for boarding. As Aeromexico Clase Premier you get priority boarding (and check in, however I checked in online) but the other thing I found is that they allow you through the boarding area but then hold you up in the jetway in a large mass before allowing anyone on the plane. So all of us in Clase Premier were just standing outside the plane waiting for the go ahead. This happened on all four of my flights.
The plane was an ancient 737 that had not been updated. There were no outlets at the seats and although a blanket was provided to my seat mate, I did not get one. I did get a pillow.
Aeromexico makes more announcements (pre-recorded) than any other airline I have flown. They are also all in both English and Spanish so take twice as long. In addition to the endless announcements about the plane refueling and not being able to use the lavatory, once we actually get ready for take off ads were played on the fold down overhead screens. My Spanish isn’t good enough to fully understand what the ads were about, but one in particular had some sort of creature stealing Swiss ice cream I think. It showed up multiple times throughout my trip and I found the creature rather endearing.
Orange juice or water was offered before take off. Once in the air “dinner” was served. It came on all together on one tray — romaine lettuce salad, ham and cheese sandwich and a brownie. What I would expect to be served in a hospital cafeteria from the 1980s. They did have a white table cloth, so there is that…
The entertainment during the flight was the Fantastic Four on a tiny overhead screen. Tiny as in 8″ and overhead as in above row 1. I decided not to strain my eyes and tried to sleep on the red eye flight as best I could.
Upon arriving in Mexico City, all passengers had to go through immigration and customs (even if you were in transit). We must have arrived at the same time as another flight because the lines were quite long even though it was 6:00am. Once I was through immigration, I didn’t have any checked bags to pick up so I was able to zip over to immigration and on to security to catch my next flight.
Aeromexico Clase Premier Salon
There are two Aeromexico Clase Premier Salon lounges in Mexico City’s Terminal 2. Both are located on the mezzanine level and are about 100 yards apart. I chose the bigger of the two which is the one that is closer to security.
The lounge was reasonably sized but even so became very crowded as most (all?) of Terminal 2 is Aeromexico. I ended up spending a few hours here on my layover which was a bit painful. The only food was some rolls, yogurt, fruit and snack packets. They did have a large array of drinks; including an assortment of tequila if that’s your gig.
On my way back they actually had some hot breakfast foods: nachos and bread with black beans and cheese slice.
Amex Centurion Club
Next door to the Aeromexico lounge is the Amex Centurion “Club”. I decided to check it out but found it too depressing to spend any time. There was no free food or drinks. You had to pay if you wanted anything. I ended up ordering a water but then realized I didn’t know if it was from a tap so didn’t drink it.
The lighting of the Amex lounge was awful and the waiters kept trying to get me to order something to eat. The furniture was old and worn out (same with the furniture at the AM lounge). It honestly felt like a knock off; like maybe someone had stolen the Amex name and opened a fake Centurion lounge. I think I spent a total of 10 minutes there.
Once again, boarding commented for my 787 flight to Buenos Aires right around the scheduled departure time. It was a bit of mad rush to board until we got down to the actual plane where we had to wait to board. Mexico City Airport has a terrible sewage smell so it wasn’t fun to have to stand around waiting.
Once onboard, however, I was very pleasantly surprised by the new 787. This was the first time I had set foot on a 787. The size felt to me like a 777 but the larger windows and sky interior made it feel more cheerful than other planes I have flown.
Aeromexico Clase Premier 787 Hard Product
Aeromexico Clase Premier is at the front of the 787; with most rows to the left of the boarding door and two rows to the right (followed by Economy). I selected to be in the main Aeromexico Clase Premier cabin although the mini cabin in front of Economy looked just fine.
The seats are a 2-2-2 configuration, so I selected a seat in the middle section so I would be guaranteed an aisle and not have to worry about someone climbing over me. However, once the cabin door was closed only about 1/2 of the cabin was full so I was able to move to my own window seat that had an empty seat next to it.
The window seats are hands down the most private but you do have to climb over your seat mate to get out. One the return flight, I had a window and a seat mate but it wasn’t an issue to get out over him as he got up frequently.
The most private seats to me were the A seats; window seats on the left side of the cabin. The seats all tended to be slightly diagonal. the AC column of seats sloped more towards the window where the other columns slanted more towards the aisle, providing less privacy. All rows had 2.5 windows except row 4 which only had one window.
Row 1, a bulkhead, had the same legroom and space as the other rows.
The seats were staggered in a way that offered additional privacy from the person directly next to you. There was also a small barrier between seats that was welcomed.
Each seat had a large touch screen that could also be controlled by a small touchscreen remote (think iPod Touch). The movie selections were minimal; about 12 new releases and 25 or so older films. There was a standard plug and USB charger. I believe you could somehow get your iPod or iPhone to show up on the TV screen but I didn’t figure out how. The annoying thing is that the plugs and earphone jack are located behind the seat so make sure to bring a long cord.
The seats have controls that are a bit too sensitive, I found myself bumping it with my elbow and turning my seat into a bed by accident. The beds to lie completely flat and are very comfortable. I would say the Aeromexico Clase Premier 787 seats are the most comfortable airplane seats I have found; both when fully upright as well as in lie flat position.
A pillow and thick blanket were provided to each passenger. The amenity kit was classy and contained all the standard items plus a welcomed tiny bottle of hand sanitizer.
On the return flight I received a different style bag (maybe his/hers?) but with the same items.
The windows are quite nice. The ability to dim the window but still see out is welcome. I was a bit surprised that the crew kept the windows tinted the entire flight after takeoff; had you wanted to have your window fully clear you were out of luck.
There were two bathrooms for Aeromexico Clase Premier on the 787. One smaller one in the front and one between the two cabins. The one between the mini and larger Clase Premier cabins had a window in it, which I found pretty cool.
Aeromexico Clase Premier 787 Soft Product
While I found the hard product (seats and cabin) to be wonderful, the soft product (service) was another story. I had read people refer to the flight attendants as ghosts. This couldn’t have been a better way to describe them. Before flight they were present but not engaged with customers (didn’t seem to care if you had your bags stowed or your seat in upright position). During the flight they served two meals but did not once come out to provide drink service between meals! On a 9+ hour flight, there were about 6 hours where no crew came through the cabin to check on the passengers. This was true on both my outbound and return flights so I don’t think it was crew specific.
When I did get up to use the bathroom, the crew was huddled in the galley. When I asked for a drink, they did get one for me, but that was about it.
The food was less than special. I slept through breakfast on both flights. The dinner service was an appetizer (cheese with a few nuts) followed by all courses served at once on a tray.
The food quality was mediocre at best. I had some sort of chicken dish both directions. There was champaign so that was a nice surprise.
Lounges at EZE
Aeromexico Clase Premier passengers departing from Buenos Aires (EZE) were able to access the Aerolineas Argentinas lounge by gate 15 in Terminal A. About as memorable as the AirFrance KLM lounge, there were some room temperature ham and cheese sandwiches and pizza flavored crackers.
I decided to try out the neighboring Amex Centurion Lounge and was surprised to find it to be similar in decor to the American Centurion Lounges (and more crowded).
Like Aeromexico Clase Premier, the Amex Centurion Lounge at EZE had a nice hard product but the soft product was not up to the standard of other Centurion Lounges in the US. The only food was ham and cheese sandwiches, nuts, and ice cream. There were a ton of selections of drinks however that made up for the lack of food. I don’t believe there was a shower but I could have missed it.
My return flight EZE-MEX was nearly identical to the first flight except a bit more seats were occupied.
The Mexico City to San Francisco flight was surprisingly on a new 737-800 with sky interior. The seats were much more comfortable than on my way down and had inflight entertainment built in to the seat back.
I was also pleasantly surprised that the flight attendant for the Clase Premier cabin was great! He served us our food professionally, refilled drinks, and came around offering water at least three times during the 4.5 hour flight! I was very impressed.
Overall, if you can get a new plane, especially the 787, with Aeromexico you will find a top notch hard product with Aeromexico Clase Premier. The service left me nostalgic for American Airlines, and that is saying something.