During the entire year of 2021 we posted recurring business class offers by Aeromexico: Business Class tickets from Madrid to São Paulo or Santiago de Chile for €700 to €800. Offers, that came with the promise of more than 40 hours in a lie-flat-business class, thanks to a stop in Mexico City each way.
For a long time, world wide travel restriction mades this fare rather unappealing. But in August 2021, I decided to be daring a booked two tickets for my girlfriend and me. Madrid to Sao Paulo and back, with three nights in Mexico City on the inbound leg.
Three out of the four flights were Boeing 787-9 services. This plane features different seats and a different seating pattern compared to the Boeing 787-8 that carried us from Brazil to Mexico. This review focuses on the first flight of the itinerary, an almost 12 hour ride from Madrid to Mexico City aboard Aeromexico’s Boeing 787-9.
Tabel Of Content
Check-In & Boarding
Aeromexico uses Terminal 1 in Madrid, which is part of the old terminal buildings. Because of this, it is not as modern or flashy as Terminal 4, that is used by Iberia and its partners. Aeromexico’s check-in counters are located at the very end of the terminal, making it quite a long walk (approx. 15 minutes) from the metro station.
Aeromexcio uses six check-in counters in Madrid, four are open to economy class passengers, two are dedicated to SkyPriotry passengers (either business class customers or SkyTeam Elite Plus members). There was no waiting time, checking the bags and validation of our tests and travel related paperwork went quickly. The clerk told us that our baggage would be checked through Sao Paulo and it wouldn’t be necessary to pick it up and re-check it in Mexico.
That came as a surprise to me, as I expected the same procedure that’s customary in US airports. In Mexico City, this depends on your departure country and flights from Europe to international destinations may connect without re-checking their luggage.
Priority passengers enjoy a seperate security check in Madrid’s Terminal 1, which is handled completely independent from the economy queue. Behind a fancy wall, you will find two outdated security stations waiting for you, looking more like you ran into a small train station in contrast to a international airport. Nonethenless, the security check was quick and efficent.
AeroMexcio boards in five groups, SkyPriority passengers are boarded first. Despite business being booked at less than half capacity, the queue for group 1 was surprisingly long. We still were sitting in our seats less than five minutes after boarding began, thanks to the smooth and efficient handling. Thumbs up for AeroMexico during the entire ground process in Madrid.
Comfort & Cabin
We entered the plane through the second of four doors on the left. There was no separate gangway for the front seats. The premium cabin is divided into two sections, a front section with eight rows and a smaller section with just two rows. We took seats in the front section on all flights.
The seat is a Collins Aerospace Super Diamond, which is also used by Air Canada, American Airlines or in the British Airways Club Suite (but there with a door). It offers an enormous amount of space and storage space as well as maximum privacy. This is a great advantage, especially for solo travellers. For couples, the plastic surface between the two middle seats makes holding hands complicated; and turns the occasional kiss into a gymnastics exercise.
The comfortable seat converts into a 1.90-meter flat bed, which is ideal for both a short nap (heading to Mexico) and six hours of restful sleep (on the onward flight to Brazil). In addition, the footrest and backrest can be individually adjusted in order to offer every passenger the most comfortable seating position.
The cabin has a simple yet bright and welcoming design. Aeromexico does not colour the cabin with LED light (mood lighting).
The 22 business class passengers (when fully occupied) have three washrooms at their disposal. This also avoided queues and long waiting times on the fully booked flight to São Paulo.
A special bonus is an open bar that Aeromexico offers to its premium guests. Between the front and rear business class cabins, chilled drinks, coffee, snacks, but also high-quality alcoholic beverages are offered on a self-service basis.
Food & Drinks
When I checked to see if I could pre-order a vegetarian meal for my girlfriend a bit over six weeks before my trip, I found that our options weren’t limited to that. It was even possible to choose the main course for all four flights on the booking. There were always four to six dishes to choose from (although the flights to and from Mexico City were very similar). The pictured dishes looked simple but promising.
The food distribution always started with covering the fold-out table with a white tablecloth. Porcelain bowls that looked lost were quickly placed on it: one with cheese, one with another cold starter. These were placed with no discernible inspiration or motivation, along with a cutlery set of two identical forks, two identical knives and a spoon intended for all three courses, rolled up in a napkin.
The main course (beef with zucchini and mashed potatoes – or “beef” online) included more bowls served on a plastic tray. On it was the main course we had pre-ordered online, a salad, and an empty plate for fresh rolls. As with the starter, the main course seemed lost on the fairly large table. In terms of taste, none of the food was of remarkable quality. In particular, the pot of sauce served with each main course was not only unconvincing in terms of appearance, but also in terms of content. The ingredients were neither particularly good nor does the preparation or presentation deserve a positive comment.
Aside from the breakfast just before the redeye flights landed (omelette with bacon), the food in AeroMexico’s business class was disappointing in almost every way. The quality and presentation of the food are well above average for economy class and perfectly fine for premium economy, but my demands are higher in the front part of the cabin – after all, the regular ticket price is four to five times as high.
Four flight attendants looked after business class passengers on the flight from Madrid to Mexico City. To my great surprise, no welcome drink was offered to the guests onboard. This was only the case on the way back from São Paulo to Mexico City and on the last flight to Madrid.
On the flight from Madrid to Mexico, what happened during our 90-minute delay in Madrid was particularly disappointing: the fully boarded aircraft had not left the parking position for more than an hour due to missing ATC clearance. During this time, not only did the staff fail to offer at least a few soft drinks but it also actively tried to prevent passengers from going to the washrooms. I would have liked the crew to be more accommodating here.
During the flight, the flight attendants dutifully went about their work, but without any cordiality or friendliness. I fully understand that an almost twelve-hour daytime flight is extremely tiring for the cabin crew and gnaws at their motivation. But despite understanding the human aspect, the focus of this review is the service offered.
While this impression was repeated on the second daytime flight, the first redeye gave us a completely different experience. On the flight from Mexico City to São Paulo, we were served by a consistently competent crew who worked in a friendly, courteous, and fast manner.
The last flight to Madrid was a disaster in this regard. Not only was the crew grumpy, but they were also slow and disorganized. On a redeye flight to Europe, business class food shouldn’t be cleared away three hours after departure. Many guests will have paid a higher price to sleep on this flight. In addition, the flight attendants were arguing among themselves, clearly audible to the passengers. Here I have no more understanding for the human side – this behaviour is simply unprofessional.
That’s it with the negative points, however, because the entertainment system from AeroMexico leaves little to be desired. The large screen can be operated both by remote control (somewhat cumbersome) and by direct input on the screen itself (touch display). There are over 100 films and entire seasons of series to choose from (e.g. the entire first season of Westworld). You can also call up information about the food and drinks on offer. The provided noise-canceling headphones lived up to their name, as I was able to watch all the films without the need for subtitles to understand them.
While I only used the system extensively on the Madrid to Mexico City flight (featuring a 2012 revival combo of Pacific Rim, Pitch Perfect and Sucker Punch), I would have had plenty of other films to watch on the other flights. However, I was busy sleeping or working. Unfortunately, there were no video games.
AeroMexico also offers free WiFi (limited to messaging apps). It is possible to unlock larger packages for a fee – however, the offered data volume of the medium package is downright ridiculously small (180 MB). On the flight from Sao Paulo to Mexico City, I tested one of these packages: the speed or the server did not allow accessing the usual speed check websites.
This is where the four flights differ somewhat. On the first two flights (MAD-MEX and MEX-GRU) there were no drinks served before departure. On the first flight, there was a small handout with a personal greeting that greeted every business class passenger at their seat.
I was particularly impressed by the generous amenity kits from Etro. These are not only very nicely designed, but also filled with all sorts of useful things. In addition to the usual cosmetic items and sleeping masks, we also found slippers, a pen, and an empty booklet for notes.
Bonus: AeroMexico Boeing 787-8 Business Class
While the soft products hardly differ, the business class cabin of the slightly smaller Boeing 787-8 from AeroMexico is fundamentally different from that of its big sister. Among other things, there is no minibar here, and the seating arrangement is also different. Here you fly in a Collins Diamond seat, which is also used in older premium cabins by United Airlines and KLM, among others.
The 2-2-2 configuration is more suitable for couples travelling together, especially on daytime flights. It allows more communication, toasting together with drinks or looking out of the window of the person sitting next to you. For solo travellers or on flights where you want to sleep, the 787-9’s seating arrangement is far more comfortable.
Due to the different seats, the 787-8 offers space for 32 passengers in the front part of the cabin, who have one less washroom (two instead of three). Nevertheless, there were no queues in front of the toilet door. In contrast to the longer version of the Dreamliner, the washrooms in business class are even exceptionally nicely designed.
While the plastic panels in the 787-9 offer more privacy, in the 787-8 you are still well protected from prying eyes. Due to the colour changes in the cabin light and the seat covers (purple instead of dark blue), the cabin appears much warmer and more inviting.
- Check-in & Boarding
- Comfort & Cabin
- Food & Drinks
AeroMexico’s hard product was convincing on all flights. While the 787-8 and 787-9 differ, both cabins have their merits. Storage options, comfort and the possibility to sleep are given in both cases. The biggest difference, being able to communicate with your seat neighbour, depends mainly on personal circumstances and can therefore be both an advantage and a disadvantage. Check-in and boarding were efficient in all cases and without any negative incidents. Unfortunately, these good impressions are marred by the loveless and average range of food. Since some of the main courses were not served with side dishes to fill you up, you can’t even consistently say that you weren’t hungry after the meal. The service also deserves little praise and was sometimes below average even for economy class. I would therefore only recommend an AeroMexico business class ticket if it is heavily discounted.