In order to save a few bucks, I decided to fly to Mexico through Tijuana's International airport. I would have much rather flown out of my home airport LAX, but the fares during the peak summer travel season were comparable to those to Europe from Los Angeles at certain times of the year. Next time, I'll plan my trip far in advance like I usually do, for the 3 hour drive to T.J. from L.A. was quite an exhaustive one.
July/2000 AeroMexico MD-80 Tij-GDL
Tijuana's airport along with the most Mexican airports have recently been privatised by the government. Tijuana's airport is part of the Airports of the Pacific group (Aeropuertos del pacifico) which was recently bought by several european investors such as the aena, the Spanish airport management company. Most of these aiports are currently being renovated and brought to International standards. This is the case Tijuana's airport which is going through extensive renovation
inside of the terminal. The airport was quite busy with many people traveling and many of those being Americans from California that were flying to the beaches and trying to save some bucks like me.
As I stepped through the front door of the MD-80, I was greated by the purser who had a small tray with packs of miniature candies. (AeroMexico has always offered candies as a welcome aboard treat ever since my first flight with them in 1980 when I was 3 years old)
Nice treat, especially for the children. As I walked through the cabin a very nice flight attendant greated me and said: Good day young man, man I help you find you're seat? (Buenos dias joven, te ayudo a encontrar tú asiento?) This is one of the reasons that AeroMexico can claim on being the most puctual airline in the world, because it teaches it's flight attendants to give a warm welcome and to seat all passengers as soon as possible so that the plane can take off on time.
As she left me at my seat and continued to help the other passengers I noticed that the aircraft was clean and every other seat had a small pillow and blanket. Each seat also had an inflight magazine, a barf bag and the emergency seat card.
The airport was packed with other mexican airlines, namely: Mexicana, Aviacsa, AeroCalifornia. As we were taxing to the runway I also noticed an ex-Okada Air 747-100 that was once part of the Air Lingus 747 fleet. This aircraft was no longer airworthy as many pieces of the plane were missing but still retained the Okada Air Nigeria livery and name.
We promptly took off and we were soon overflying the deserts of Baja California. Withing 20 minutes of our take off the flight attendants started serving food along with the drinks. There was 4 flight attendants for the 75-80% full MD-80. Once the meal trays were passed out the flight attendants came back each holding either Orange juice, Coke, or Coffee. Breakfast consisted of a small ham sandwich and a cup of fruit.
After flying through Baja and over the sea of Cortez, we got deeper into the more green and fertile mountains of Mexico. It was raining season in that part of the country, but even with a few clouds in the sky, turbolence was kept to a minimum. After our 2:50 hour flight we started our decent into Guadalajara's international airport. We overflew the city and made a smooth landing. The plane taxied and parked adjacent to a Continental NG-737 that was boarding to Houston and a Mexicana 727 full of Mexican gamblers headed to Las Vegas. There was also a Saab340 and a Metro belonging to Aerolitoral (AeroMexico's feeder) about to take off. As I walked out of the aircraft and into the terminal I noticed that it was very clean and comfortable with many nice shops and restaurants. The international arrivals terminal was being renovated and was almost finished with a very modern 2000 futuristic look.
July 2000, AeroCalifornia DC-9-30 GDL-MEX
I arrived early at the airport for my 9:30 flight to Mexico City. The airport was very busy will all sorts of aircraft at the ramp destined to other domestic destinations as well as for the United States. The cargo terminal was also busy with an Atlas Air 747-200, Fed Ex A300, UPS 757, & a DHL 727-200. Martinair Holland also comes into Guadalajara with a 747 once a week. Soon our AeroCalifornia DC-9 landed and we were put on a bus that took us to our DC-9. The aircraft was about 30 years old and it's age was showing. There was 2 female flight attendants for the plane both being between 21-25 yrs old and very nice. We took off on time for out short hop of 50 minutes. Although this was only a 50 minute flight all passengers were offered a newspaper before we took off, and to my surprise once we were in the air all passengers were offered breakfast which consisted of a mexican sandwich (torta de jamon) and a choice of various fruit juices.(Unheard of in the U.S) The flight was about 55-60 percent full. Again minimal turbolence was encountered and our flight was a smooth one to Mexico City international airport. As we landed at Mexico City I noticed that there was a Varig 767 and an Aeroflot Ilushin Il-96 resting for it's trip back to Moscow. Unfortunatly my camera had just ran out of film roll and I couldn't get up to get it from the overhead compartment as we were still taxing to our stand.
August 2000, AeroMexico 757 MEX-TIJ
I boarded the aircraft in AeroMexico's new metalic colors. Again we were offered newspapers and candy at the jetway. There was 6 flight attendants for the 757, 2 for each of the 3 compartments including first class. The flight attendants were extremely nice on this plane. The 757 like all AeroMexico aircraft I've flown on were spotless clean and comfortable. The airport was really packed with aircraft. (According to analyst if a new airport isn't build in 5 years, Mexico City's current airport will reach stagnation) We took of on time and within 15 minutes the flight attendants started their breakfast run. We were served an egg omelette (tortilla española) with a bread bun and refried beans. The flight attendants again passed after the meal was served, each carrying either orange juice, coke, or coffee. While were were still eating, the movie was started. I've only seen this on some of the airlines, but I like it when the airline's name and logo appearst on the movie screen right before the movie starts. In this case AeroMexico's name and logo came out right before Warner Bros. The movie showing was: The Whole Nine Yards, a comedy with: Bruce Willis and Mathew Perry. Great movie! You always have a memorable flight when a good movie is showing on board. After the movie I got up to use the restroom not because I had to use it, but because I wanted to check out the load factor on this 757. It seemed like a pretty packed flight. about 85% full. Like I said the flight attendants were really nice (2 males and 4 females) There was even a flight attendant holding a mothers baby while she was inside using the restroom. I thought it was the cuttest thing because she was being so nice to the baby which was about one year old and not afraid of the flight attendant at all. She was telling the baby; you're mom is in there, (pointing to the door) she'll be right out. Our flight lasted about 3 hours and we were soon decending to Tijuana's airport.
The flight attendants came to pick up our head phones which were free at no charge. We landed smoothly and on time. As I walked through the plane and exited at the most forward door I thanked the flight attendants and they responded; not at all thank you, and take care! (Al contrario, gracias a usted y que le vaya bien!) which felt really good after a weeks vacation. 5 thumbs up AeroMexico and go Skyteam!!!
My trip report:
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