Don’t Fly Aeromexico and LaTuga Arrives

This story is not unique.  Many of us will suffer this travel season! Including Robert Reich.

Yesterday was much, much better than the day before when Aeromexico denied me boarding on my flight to Oaxaca, put me on standby on a series of over-sold flights, knowing full well I’d never get on but keeping me hopeful until the bitter end.  Why they didn’t say, honey, get on a bus, we have overbooked each flight by 10-15 people to start with, I don’t know?

I arrived in D.F. from Austin at noon on Aeromar, who damaged my laptop screen by treating carry-on as a checked bag.  I  filed a claim and we will see what happens next.  It took me two hours to get through Mexican immigration and customs what with the holiday crowds and not enough staff. I arrived to get my boarding pass 30 minutes before departure.

They jockeyed me between various agents, managers, and lines at their Mexico City Terminal 2 counters. By 7:30 p.m., the last agent said, maybe we can get you out on the first flight in the morning.  The operative word here is maybe. When I asked where I would sleep, the clerk merely shrugged and said quien sabe?  Who knows?

NO, they would not refund my money, saying it was a United ticket, not theirs.  They tried to blame Aeromar for being late, which they weren’t. No way were they going to help me get to Oaxaca.

Customer service has never been their strong suit.  Since Mexicana went belly-up, there is only Aeromexico to serve Oaxaca from Mexico City.  Why care about the customer when you run a monopoly?

That’s when I decided F. this.  I forfeited the ticket, took a taxi to TAPO the regional bus station and  bought a ticket on an overnight ADO GL first class bus to Oaxaca.  I figured I would spend over $100 on a hotel room in D.F. with no assurance of getting to Oaxaca any time soon.  The bus was a better bet.  For $55 USD I had a reclining seat and wheels.  With a sleep aid, I even got a few hours of snoozle.

Thank goodness yesterday was better.  Last night, Justo called as we were finishing up a snack at Omar’s Taqueria in Teotitlan del Valle.  We are here, he said.  LaTuga is in Teotitlan.  Justo and his brother Federico shared the driving on what must have been a non-stop two-day journey from Austin to Oaxaca to get my 2004 Honda Element here.

I couldn’t have been happier.  I will get the car at 2 p.m. today.  Yesterday, I got my flight-damaged MacBook Pro laptop screen replaced within 24-hours at Laptown, a computer repair service in Colonia Reforma.  Manager Octavio came to pick it up at El Diablo y La Sandia B&B where I was staying.  Extraordinary customer service.

Now, I’m ready to put all this behind me and get down to enjoying the holiday seasons of posadas, mole and mezcal.  Saludos!

Want to get a car to Mexico?  Contact Justo for reliable transport service.

Travel Tips From Experience

  1. Book the same carrier all the way from your departure city to your destination.  It’s not worth it to “jump” airlines to save a few bucks.
  2. Never book and pay through a third-party carrier. I bought my Aeromar and Aeromexico flights through United.  It’s a United ticket, they said. We are not responsible.  Even though they get paid!
  3. See if there is a baggage handling agreement between carriers.  Aeromexico does not have one with Aeromar or United.  I had to take my bags off the carousel, and would have had to recheck them, and go through security again.
  4. I wanted to save time by getting this expensive connecting flight from Mexico City to Oaxaca.  I usually always take the bus, convenient and cheaper.  This time should have been no different.
  5. Fly United direct from Houston to Oaxaca if you can.  This route saves a lot of hassle.



18 responses to “Don’t Fly Aeromexico and LaTuga Arrives

  1. When I fly into Mexico city, because there are times of year when the United flights into Oaxaca are outrageously priced, I just go from customs to TAPO. I have heard too many horror stories about Aeromexico. Based on your story, I will continue to bus-it to Oaxaca from Mexico city. On another note, I will rejoice, probably with mezcal, when the day comes when people all over the world refuse to work for and represent these greedy-centric corporations. I listened as a United rep in Houston tell an elderly woman that it was her problem where she slept for the night, because many flights had been cancelled because of weather and United was not responsible nor would it put her up for the night. The rep told her she could sleep in a chair at the airport, and get a flight out in the morning.

    • Akilah, thank you for sharing this experience. I was hurt and angry, so made my feelings public. Perhaps not the best idea since all airlines have their issues with customer service. I, too, will continue to take the bus to Oaxaca from Mexico City. It’s the best and least expensive option. Sad to hear the United customer service problem and their treatment of the elderly. Hope to see you soon!

  2. So glad you’re there safe and sound….car, laptop, and all. What a trouper you are!

  3. So glad your car finally arrived and that you are now completely mobile. Congrats!!!

  4. Christine and I took the United flight thru Houston to Oaxaca last year. Sure enough, the Houston to Oaxaca flight got canceled due to mechanical problems. They put us up in a nice hotel with shuttle bus service, dinner & breakfast coupons and we were in Oaxaca by 11am the following morning. Definitely better.

  5. Dear Ms. Hawthorne,
    I use to enjoy reading your blog but this latest posting about all of your difficulties in trying to get to Oaxaca during the holidays is nothing but a tirade of events brought on by yourself. You should consider yourself fortunate to have the opportunity to travel in Mexico and live part-time in Oaxaca as you write about in your blog. You should be counting your blessings and be thankful for what you have in your life especially during this time of year and stop feeling sorry for yourself.
    First of all, you should have booked a later connecting flight considering it is the holidays as traveling through Mexico City and getting through customs is always tedious and long at best, worsen by the holiday season. Second of all, you should have carried your laptop onto the airplane in a travel case designed specifically for this purpose or carried it onto the plane with you. Thirdly, the constant writing about yourself is embarrassing for someone your age, as it is self-serving and your “poor me” mentality is extremely tiresome especially for someone who revels in their knowledge of travel in Mexico.
    The final coup de gras was your “F this”. I will not be reading your blog anymore.

    • I am sorry that I offended you, and you are absolutely right! It’s the holidays, one must expect these kinds of things to happen, and it is my fault that I didn’t leave more than 2-1/2 hours of time to connect in Mexico City. And, it was really stupid of me not to take my laptop onto the plane. I should have known better! Yes, you called me on my whining! I guess after driving three days across country and then trying to get my car to Mexico, I just lost my patience and I need to remember I must be an example to others. This was much more personal than I usually write about and I can see why you feel it was tiresome and self-serving. I appreciate the feedback. I am sorry to lose you as a reader.

  6. Norma
    Que pesadilla! I had thought about going through DF from RDU in April as it is SO much cheaper but no way Josefina. Will go via Houston as I had almost decided and your post clinched it indeed.

    Glad you are home safe. btw took a winter solstice walk today in Weymouth Woods near Southern Pines and saw the oldest (466 years) documented long-leaf pine.


  7. Oh just another comment. I stay in DF (el centro) in good clean hotels. Don’t need anything fancy so they run about $280.pesos a night average. If you need any names do let me know…

  8. I have never had problems with Aeromexico buying flights directly from them. I had a cancelled flight a few years ago going out of DF and I was put up in an excellent hotel, meals provided and transport. Excellent.
    United is a horror of an airline though and they don’t stand behind anything – I had an issue with a missed flight with United last January and they would do nothing. Awful.
    I used Aeromar a couple of months ago. They are small planes and cannot take full size cabin luggage. It doesn’t fit. You can gate-check carry-ons at the plane door though and it doesn’t go through the regular check-in system. You pick it up as you step out the plane door. NEVER check computers, always carry them.
    For Aeromexico tickets, do check them and see what time you need to be checked in by. If you don’t arrive in time the seats have already been given away so nothing can be done then. It is not the fault of the people who check you in – they can’t give you a seat if it no longer exists. If you are getting connecting flights make sure that you have plenty of time on the ground between flights so that doesn’t happen.
    There is no baggage handling agreement between airlines when you land in another country and have to pass through customs. You have to pick up and re-check baggage any time that customs is involved. I have to do the same thing flying out of DF to the US when I have a connecting flight. Pick up luggage, go through US customs, re-check baggage, go through security and then head to the next plane. The only way that you can avoid that is by direct flights to your final destination where you will go through customs.
    It isn’t a fault of Aeromexico – it is how the airline system works – with other airlines as well…
    Mexico City to Oaxaca flights are around $90. so not crazy expensive.
    Good luck in the future…

    • Hi, Irene, thank you for sharing your great travel advice to Mexico. I appreciate that you took the time to explain a better way to do it than I did. While I did allow 2-1/2 hours between flights, I guess during the busy holiday season, that just wasn’t enough. Readers should heed this when making their travel arrangements. I, thought, too, that if my bag was gate checked, it would reappear outside the airplane door when I deplaned but this wasn’t the case. It arrived in baggage claim along with all the other huge luggage. So, yes, I totally agree — always carry your laptop with you and use a backpack as you suggest. Wise advice and I am grateful for your contributions to help people travel easier. BTW, the Aeromexico flight from DF to Oaxaca is over $200 one-way. The bus is $55.

  9. What a bad airline hassle, Norma! But love the laptop repair story!! Glad you & car are home safe. Happy Holidays! Suzanne

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