Before we knew it, it was time for us to return home – vacations are never long enough! We had arranged for round-trip shuttle service between the airport and our hotel, so we were promptly picked up and deposited at the airport. Though our driver insisted that we needed to leave the hotel by 4:30 AM, we found that the airport counters and security are not open until 5:00 AM. Adding to the fun: most stores and restaurants are closed until 6 or later, depending on the store.
Our initial flight from SJD to MEX was fairly uneventful. We were once again on a regional jet operated by Aeromexico Connect, and we were asked to not use headphones until we reached 10,000 feet. Another interesting quirk: Aeromexico doesn’t serve alcohol before 11:00 AM local time, but all alcohol is complimentary after 11:00 AM.
While taxiing, my girlfriend was able to snap a few gorgeous shots of planes, including a Boeing 727 used by the Polícia Federal! We quite a few Dreamliners, as well as a plane with livery I couldn’t recognize in the least… it almost looks like a funky Alitalia color scheme. If you can figure out who’s flying this plane, let me know!
Aeromexico Salon Premier
Instead of the Heineken sponsored lounge that we visited during our first time through MEX, we opted to grab some caffeine and libations at one of the larger Salon Premier lounges.
This lounge is one of three that are located in the mezzanine – to reach it you have to either take the elevator or climb the stairs near security. The lounge itself was quite spacious with two circular bars that served alcohol as well as coffee and tea. There was plenty of seating available with easy access to power outlets. Tucked away in the furthest corner were coolers for self-serve beer, water, and juice as well as a few snacks.
Probably the most frustrating part of the return was the experience while waiting to board the flight from Mexico City to Atlanta. A Delta representative let us know that we would need to get freshly printed boarding passes from Delta (our Aeromexico boarding passes would not allow us to board). Getting new boarding passes took nearly 15 minutes even though there was nobody in line before me, simply because the gate agents were talking to each other instead of paying attention to passengers – thoroughly disappointing.
Once we had received our new boarding passes, we got to experience the new TSA security measures for US-bound flights. While I understand the premise of asking the same question multiple times to ensure that you get the same answer, I tend to find this works best when the question isn’t immediately repeated. For example, I was asked how long I had stayed in Mexico three times… one right after another.
The remaining of the boarding process was fairly uneventful, but shortly after approaching the runway, we were turning back to the gate. There it was: the dreaded maintenance delay. Thankfully, we had planned for a 3 hour layover in Atlanta, so we made it to our connection with 10 minutes to spare (sans dinner).
Finally on our way, we were given physical menus to select our lunches from. I opted for the arroz con pollo while my girlfriend opted for the pasta. The chicken was slightly drier than the flight to Mexico, but the rice (really a pearl couscous) was quite good. The charcuterie plate was probably my favorite part of the meal, though.