According to this Forum search engine, this is the first trip report of newcomer LCC VivaAerobus. This airline, started by Tony Ryan (founder of Ryanair) and Mr Alcántara (owner of one of the largest coach companies in Mexico) moved close to 94K pax in their first month of operations.
It has ben close to three months since they started operations based in MTY
and it was last weekend when I had the chance to fly with them.
Interestingly, new LCC in Mexico have created demand rather than steal pax from well established airlines. Both AM
kept moving the same number of pax during 2006 despite 5 new airlines started crossing Mexican skies. 6A
is the only airline severly affected by new LCC. My trip with VivaAerobus last weekend was possible largely by the low fares brought by these new airlines. Though I intensevily use airlines, I would have never even thought of taking a weekend trip to look for bisons and praire dogs in Janos (two hours far from CJS
). Had not been for the ridicolous low fares, I would have stayed in MTY
for the weekend. VivaAerobus did not steal my trip from AM
because, otherwise, my trip would have never existed. Instead, they added one more pax to the system (in fact, three more, because I flew along with 2 other friends).
So here it is the story.
VivaAerobus (VIV) 170
Flying time: 1:45
Flight load: aprox. 70%
Fare: USD 55
: USD100 (r/t)
VivaAerobus asks us pax to be at the airport 2 hours prior to departure time. However, we only did manage to arrive 1:15 early. Instead of using MTY
terminal, VIV operates from MTY
Terminal C which is no different from a big and bright warehouse (and also not different to all new LCC terminals used by Ryanair in Europe). Only three flights were been documented at the time (each one in a different desk) so this process was done very fast. While in the counter, I overheard a couple who arrived 42 minutes before their flight to CUL, and since VIV closes flights 45 min before departure, they were neglected the service. At first this seemed quite unflexible, but then I will realise the benefits of this strict policy.
Customer related employees were no other uniform but a cakhi trousers and a polo shirt with VIV logo, and that's it.That is surely a way to keep costs down. Obviously, in order to keep fares at the minimum they do not use jetbridges and just make us pax walk in the tarmac towards our plane.
Boarding was so fast, orderly and speedy, that ten minutes before our EDT we were already flying. As soon as the incoming flight touched ground, we were asked to make four queues for boarding. Therefore, when incoming pax were getting into the terminal, we were also walking towards the plane reducing iddle time. Hence the very strict policy of closing flights 45 min before: they need us to be ready to depart even earlier.
The a/c seems clean enough considering it was their 7th flight in the day with minimal turnaround times which make it almost impossible to clean it between flight. Snacks and beverages are served with a cost during the flight. However their prices are in line with low cost: a softdrink costs only 15 pesos, while at the airport it costs 25 pesos. A sandwich is only 25 pesos (in the airport it can reach 50 pesos). They have a "menu" in each pocket in the front seats informing the pax about this prices.
Service onboard is normal. You never feel VIV is neglecting anything vital in order to reduce costs. Seat pitch is standard for a LCC, and opposite to Volaris, there is no IFE.
We arrived into CJS
almost 15 min ahead of schedule which is always a great surprise. I did not check any bags, so I could not say a word about baggage handling.
VivaAerobus (VIV) 171
Flying time: 1:30
Flight load: around 95%
Check-in process was done in a temporal counter. It was just a small table with a huge sign of VivaAerobus and was located in front of Aerocalifornia counters. There is no more space in CJS
airport to include another permanent counter, and given VIV only flies there once a day, they thought this arrangement was the best. One year ago, only three airlines flew to CJS
: Aeromexico, Aerolíneas Azteca and Aerolitoral. Now you have to add Interjet, Alma, VivaAerobus and Aerocalifornia. I guess space is a precious commodity.
So, after manually checking-in (manually, as it is done also in MRS
with Ryanair), we were ready to get on board. Again, the plane was ready for take-off minutes before EDT. After flying over Samalayuca sand dunes and the almost always dry Laguna El Barreal (which now it had water due to the heavy snowfalls of two weeks before), we completed and eventless flight, again arriving almost 15 minutes ahead of schedule.
Overall, I could not find any criticism to VIV services given their low cost nature. Just a recomendation, they could fasten boarding times in MTY
if they allow boarding throught the rear door as they allow when deboarding takes place. I would definetely try VIV once again if they keep this low fares.