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While most of the world remained closed during late 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic, a few flight routes remained open for tourism (albeit with some restrictions). One of those routes was Aeromexico’s popular Mexico City to São Paolo route: A comfy 10 hour ride on their 787-9 Dreamliner jet with private reverse herringbone seating. To be honest with you if I was writing a typical Aeromexico business class flight review, especially their domestic business class (aka Aeromexico Clase Premier), I wouldn’t be very impressed.
However, for this Aeromexico flight review, I’ll admit I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of both the hard and soft product, especially considering this was in the middle of the covid-19 pandemic. I took this route twice, once in late September 2020 from Mexico City (MEX) to São Paolo (GRU) and then back to Mexico City in early November 2020, i’ll be reviewing both flights. I think improves the quality of this Aeromexico flight review as it allowed me to compare the Clase Premier experience twice during different parts of the covid-19 pandemic to see how the flights differed from one another.
- Booking Aeromexico Using Points – How I Booked This Flight
- Aeromexico Check-In / Security
- Aeromexico Club Premier Lounge Review – T2 CDMX
- Aeromexico 787-9: Seat Review (Hard Product)
- Aeromexico Flight Review – Soft Product (Service) Review
- Thoughts on Aeromexico Business Service
- Overall rating for Aeromexico Clase Premier on the Boeing 787-9 During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Booking Aeromexico Using Points – How I Booked This Flight
We have an entire article dedicated to how to best use Aeromexico Club Premier miles as well as the best way to book Aeromexico Business Class (AKA Aeromexico Clase Premier) Sometimes it’s best to book Aeromexico’s own program sometimes its best with Skyteam alliance partners. In this case, Aeromexico’s Club Premier program blew the competition out of the water.
Ways to book Aeromexico Business Class Using Points (Clase Premier)
There are many ways to book Aeromexico Business Class (aka Aeromexico Clase Premier) such as Delta Skymiles (transfers in from American Express), AirFrance/Flying Blue (Transfers in from Chase, Amex, Citi, Brex, and Capital One), and non-alliance partner Avianca (Transfers from Amex, Citi, Brex Cap One). Usually, these partner airlines have less availability on Aeromexico metal than Aeromexico’s own Club Premier program but if you had some miles to burn on some of these other programs it is a decent option. Of course, you can book Aeromexico metal on Aeromexico’s own program “Club Premier,” which transfers in from Citi, Brex, and Capital One, but all at a mediocre 1:1 rate which isn’t very fair since Aeromexico prices their fights in Kilometers. However, American Express transfers into Aeromexico at a ratio of 1000:1600 (sometimes with a bonus at a rate of 1000:2000 for a limited time). This dramatically changes the math and makes what would have been a mediocre transfer partner for other credit card programs a much more attractive option.
That means all the Membership Rewards points you have earned from everyday spending using The Platinum Card from American Express or your American Express Gold Card can be used towards your next Aeromecixo Award. On the other hand, if you use your card to book flights directly with Aeromexico, you will earn 5X and 3X points, respectively, bringing you closer to your next Aeromexico award. You can check out why we think the Amex Gold card is the king of credit cards or how the platinum card stacks up against some heavyweight competitors.
Did you know Aeromexico Club Premier has random sales where they mark most award flights down 30% for a few days?! 😱😱
In this case, however, at the time Aeromexico was having a Club Azul sale aka as a Hot Sale. These sales are time-limited sales where Aeromexico marks down most of their award flights in their club premier program by 30% for a period of a few days. For some reason, no major blogs ever cover these sales, not even The Points Guy or One Mile at a Time! In late 2020 Aeromexico charged 75k Aeromexico Kilometers for the flight one way or 150k roundtrip (It seems the base price has been raised to 85k as of June 2021)
Since it was a “Club Azul Sale” (no relation to the Brazilian airline FYI), everything was marked at 30% off or 52,500 Aeromexico Club Premier Kilometers for this Aeromexico flight to Brazil. But it gets even better! Paying 52.5k miles +only $68US in taxes; for a 10-hour business class flight would have been a decent deal in its own right. But don’t forget that while Citi, Brex, and Capital One only transfer 1:1, American Express US cards transfer in 1000:1600, meaning the flight was effectively 32.5k Amex points. The cash price for this one-way flight was $3,484, giving a jaw-dropping value of 10.5c per Amex point after deducting taxes! You won’t be surprised to hear, I ended up booking the same deal back to Mexico before the sale ended and the roundtrip flight was $3,681 giving a “real” value of about 5.3c per point if you were comparing cash round trip prices, still a fantastic way to redeem American Express point! In general, I find that Chase and Capital One points can be more versatile for cash bookings, whereas Amex Membership Rewards generally perform best for Award transfer bookings. Of course, you can also book in cash with Aeromexico, or book using “points as cash” (such as on the Chase portal), I’ve seen this flight go as cheap as $2.2k USD roundtrip but typically its $3k-$4k USD RT, making such a redemption not very attractive.
When booking Aeromexico Club Premier awards always look for the 787-9! Its a far superior business class hard product to the 787-8
One final takeaway before we get into the flight review itself: If you’re looking for a great long-distance business class experience with Aeromexico, I’d make sure you select a flight that operates the 787-9 Boeing Dreamliner, not the 787-8. There isn’t anything particularly wrong with the 787-8, but its business class uses a somewhat outdated 2x2x2 seating where you might have a neighbor and generally have less space. The 787-9 uses reverse herringbone seating with a much larger screen and far more space. Be warned you could book a 787-9 flight only for Aeromexico to change the route to a 787-8 either in advance or at the last minute. This is true for all award flights though, we’re at the mercy of equipment swaps and the 787-8 business class is not that bad a way to fly. If you see there was an equipment change you most likely can change your award flight for free to another date!
Aeromexico Check-In / Security
For my flight from Mexico City to São Paolo Aeromexico check-in was super fast and breezy. Not really a surprise considering there were very few people at the airport at the time. The gate attendants were quick and professional, albeit a bit confused to see me traveling for tourism in the middle of covid. They also gave my health insurance documents a quick check. At the time you needed to show proof of health insurance against covid to enter Brazil, now they no longer request this, but they do request a negative PCR covid test taken less than 72 hours before you’re flight, something that wasn’t requested at the time of my outbound flight.
On the return trip to Mexico City, there was also no problem with Aeromexico’s Check-in in São Paolo airport as the international terminal was completely empty, and when I say completely empty, I mean it. In Mexico City the “International” terminal has some domestic flights, but in São Paolo only international and there were only a few international flights that day.
Security at CDMX airport during the covid-19 pandemic
Security went fast. The only special covid requirement is to scan a QR code where you fill out a quick form that asks you where you’ve been in the last 14 days and if you’ve had any covid symptoms, then it gives you a screenshot for you to show security.
As expected upon arrival to São Paolo there was virtually no line at immigration.
On the way back from GRU to MEX, security was also a breeze since it was the international terminal and there was virtually nobody there. However, once I grabbed my bag in São Paolo and transferred to the domestic terminal it was much busier there.
Aeromexico Club Premier Lounge Review – T2 CDMX
During my previous flight review on a Delta flight when I flew in June 2020 the Aeromexico lounge was closed, but this time around this was not the case.
The lounge, as expected, had limited service. I was granted lounge access with my ticket, but I could have gotten in either way with my Priority Pass courtesy of my Chase Sapphire Reserve card. At the time all buffet items were either canned drinks or pre-wrapped snacks. They also would bring you a small hot snack either breakfast or a small hot sandwich depending on the time of day. You could also order more substantial meals for a fee, although at the time they were just piloting that program (As I’m writing this in June 2021 it is now in full swing, they have a full restaurant menu available).
The Wifi in the Aeromexico Premier lounge is always a bit slow and unstable, as it was that day, so I usually just tether to my phone. You can also connect to the main airport free wifi which gives you a free hour of fast wifi after watching a commercial and is in my opinion better than Aeromexico’s Club Premier wifi.
One great thing I love about the lounge though it is spacious with ample seating, even during busy times you can always find a seat in this lounge. They always have a great self-serve drink selection as well. They also serve draft beer and bring you a cappuccino or latte free of charge if you ask a waiter (though at the time I was there this service was temporarily suspended. I’ve taken many flights since then and as of June 2021, virtually all lounge service has been restored, except hot unwrapped buffet items are no longer available).
Overall I have no complaints about Aeromexico’s Club Premier Lounge in Mexico City.
On the return flight from São Paolo all lounges in the international terminal were closed.
POINTS PANDA PRO TIP TIP If you’re looking for a more substantial meal you may want to consider the Amex Centurion Mexico City lounge next door if you have access, the “complimentary snack” they give you is much more substantial, the lounge is quieter, and the wifi much faster. They also have a play area for kids that the AM lounge doesn’t have.
POINTS PANDA PRO TIP 2: Aeromexico’s Club Premier Lounge in Terminal 2 is actually 2 identical lounges, the one towards the far right side of security near the restaurants has a tendency to be a bit quieter.
Aeromexico Boarding Process: Back to Front but Only After Clase Premier Customers
Something that has really annoyed me about Aeromexico’s domestic business class (clase premier) during covid is they board back to front INCLUDING business class, completely ignoring boarding zones. That means if you fly business class in Mexico you will be the very last person to board, and believe me they enforce it, even now in June 2021.
Thankfully for the 2 flights I took they had a much more practical boarding process. Allowing Business Class akak Clase Premier and AM+ (economy +) customers to board first and THEN do back to front for the rest of the economy cabin, so I have no complaints there.
Once we boarded we were given a complimentary drink choice between water or orange juice, but not champagne.
Is Sky Priority worth it during the covid-19 pandemic?
This might have you wondering if the SkyPriority Check-in is worth anything during covid times, I would say definitely YES, because I was flying in September and November 2020 when the airports were empty, especially the international areas. By the time I’m writing this in June 2021, you would probably be looking at a very long line and remember in Mexico City a lot of times both the standard and the Sky Priority line mix domestic and international flights in the Aeromexico check-in area. If you have a bag to check in Mexico City airport and you don’t have Sky Priority, the check-in line might be 5 minutes or 90 minutes it’s hard to know.
Aeromexico 787-9: Seat Review (Hard Product)
I chose seat 3J on the plane on the way down and 2J on the way up (Points Panda pro tip: Always select the right side of the plane, especially if flying economy, it is less likely you’ll have a neighbor)
Aeromexico’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner is by far the best hard product and seat in Aeromexico’s fleet. As mentioned previously, if you’re going to book an Aeromexico award with points really try to make sure you get the 787-9, since the 787-8 is 2x2x2 and comes across as dated compared to the seats on this plane. On the 787-9 seats are in reverse herringbone configuration giving you tons of privacy. A touchscreen lets you control the seat itself, and it felt quick, easy, and responsive with specific takeoff, recline and sleep preset. alternately you could customize the footrest and incline combination to your liking.
One Small problem: On route from Mexico City to Sao Paolo it seemed my seat only reclined to about 170 degrees instead of 180, which was fine for watching a movie but when I wanted to sleep I switched place to the empty seat next door. The controls were very responsive on both flights. If you are flying alone try to get a window seat as there is a small table attached to the window.
I don’t remember the brand of the bedding they used but it was very soft and fluffy, it felt like a feather-down comforter, the pillow was fine too. With business-class only 25% full, I took the opportunity to grab a comforter from and empty seat and slept on top of that to make the bed softer (something I usually do if given the chance)
The 787-9 window seat includes tons of cubby space including one cubby to your left, that has a bottle of water already inside waiting for you when you board. For those seated by a window, on top of the screen controls under the window is another small cubby you can open. The USB and plug outlets are here too.
Aeromexico Boeing 787-9 – IFE / Screen / Entertainment System
The 18″ screen feels massive. I connected my Bose QC700’s with a 3.5mm cable and felt like I was in a movie theater. The screen was crisp and bright. The movie selection was quite solid too. I chose the movie “Motherless Brooklyn” featuring Edward Norton, a fantastic movie I had never seen that I got to enjoy with a great meal. The In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) also featured games and TV shows which I didn’t checkout. My favorite part of the IFE was the Panasonic airshow feature, it was very interactive and allowed me to zoom in and out and select different views. You could also checkout different cameras on the aircraft. If you’re an AV geek you’ll really enjoy playing around with it.
Wifi on Aeromexico’s Boeing 787-9
Wifi is provided by Panasonic on Aeromexico’s Boeing 787 jets, not by Gogo. Unfortunately, it was a whopping $39.95 to have unlimited wifi, you could also buy 180 megs for $19.95, but that would get used up in about 10 seconds, I couldn’t bring myself to part with $20 for a paltry 180Mbs. They did offer a texting package for $1.38usd (yes you read that right), and I signed up for that on both the way down to Brazil in September and on the way back up in November. It was nice to be connected at an “almost free” price to Whatsapp, iMessage, and Facebook Messenger allowing me to chat with friends for part of the flight and help pass some time. The messaging systems worked fine for the duration of the flight, which leads me to believe if you did pay for wifi it would work just fine, but I didn’t pay for it to confirm this.
“Clase Premier” Restrooms
There are 3 restrooms for Clase Premier Customers, which is quite a bit for only 36 seats. The back bathrooms were well maintained but a bit tight. The one in the front was a bit more spacious, included a nice flower decoration along with different soaps and lotions, and was well maintained on both flights.
Other features on Aeromexico’s Boeing 787-9 Business Class hard product
Of course like every Boeing 787 you get the windows that automatically tint and give the sensation of it being nighttime during the day which is great for jet lag.
Other than that the seats include your standard A/C outlet and a few USB outlets as well.
Aeromexico 787-9 – Galley “Lounge”
Another interesting feature of this Boeing 787-9 is it has a small “lounge area” but before you get too excited it’s not like Korean Air’s gigantic bar or Emirates famous A380 lounge or anything like that for that matter. But there is a self-serve area in the middle galley of the business class section that has snacks, cookies as well a self-serve coffee machine with espresso pods for Aeromexico business class (class premier) customers.
Due to the covid-19 pandemic on the way down to São Paolo in September 2020 this area/service was closed, but on the way back up Mexico City 2 months later it was working just fine. I enjoyed this little galley area to stand around, stretch my legs, and mingle a bit with another random clase premier flyers.
The temperature upfront was kept nice and cool about 72F (22C) on both the way down and way up. (I really appreciated that as many Asian airlines are known to keep their business class sections at 75-77F (25-26C). Other than that I think that about wraps it up for the hard product review.
Aeromexico Flight Review – Soft Product (Service) Review
While the Boeing 787-9 on Aeromexico’s Business Class has a fantastic hard product, it is not exactly a secret that Aeromexico isn’t known for providing a great quality soft product, with many jokes about the bad food, bad amenity kits, and of course the terrible service historically provided by the flight attendants.
Its also well known that Aeromexico’s business class and service has improved tremendously since Delta acquired a 49% stake in the airline. The food is much better, the service is much better as well. Of course, due to the covid-19 pandemic, many amenities have been suspended, but I was still impressed by the friendliness of the flight attendants, the quality of the amenity kit, and of course most importantly the in-flight food service. I’m not saying Clase Premier on Aeromexico is anything like flying first class on Singapore or Qatar Qsuites, but I do believe the service has caught up and is now at a level similar to the big US 3 carriers on long haul flights.
Amenity Kit Review – Aeromexico Business Class
Aeromexico’s amenity kits for this flight and most long-distance flights are provided by a brand name “ETRO.” I believe they manufacture amenity kits for Japan airlines as well. The kit on the way down was packaged in a nice high-quality orange pleather Dopp-kit, however, on the return leg, it was disappointing that they packaged the amenities in a cheaper “folder” style bag made of some rubber-like material.
Either way, the amenity kit contents were exactly the same on the way down from Mexico to Brazil and on the way back up from São Paolo, Brazil (GRU) back to Mexico City, Mexico (MEX).
The Aeromexico amenity kit included:
- A large very high quality eye mask I still use today.
- Toothbrush, toothpaste and a one-use mouthwash
- A bar of soap
- Lip balm / chapstick
- Hand/body lotion
- A small booklet and a pen
- Ear plugs with reusable case.
- A comb
The kit was nothing special but it got the job done. The 2 bags I got will be nice to add to my collection of 357 amenity kit bags I have back home 😝!
Beverage Dining Service Offering in Aeromexico Business Class on their 787-9
Service was very brisk, and it was planned this way to “reduce contact between flight attendants (FA) and passengers” due to the covid-19 pandemic. There was no menu, similar to flying economy style you were offered a choice of chicken or pasta, I chose chicken. The meal came with real silverware and plates but on a tray. The food was actually pretty good. The chicken was slightly tough but came with a nice marina sauce to dip it in. On the way down it wasn’t half bad, but on the way back up to Mexico that same chicken was overcooked and tough.
The portion was pretty good too the chicken was maybe 10oz. AM catering really has gotten better over time. Honestly, despite the covid-19 pandemic, this meal was way better than the ones I’ve previously had on some other super long hauls in Aeromexico Clase Premier on their 787-8 and their 767 angle flat seat (they have now retired the 767).
The main meal also came with a salad, and some sort of soft cake possibly a flan or cheesecake. For drinks they came by once to ask you what you want, I got red wine but I saw other ppl ordering mixed drinks, that the crew obligingly made up. To be fair to Aeromexico, once dining service began they came by fairly often. In total they came by 4 more times in about one hour: once to offer bread rolls, once to refill my red wine, once to collect my tray, and when he collected my tray I told him I’m still really hungry and he brought me some potato chips and mixed nuts, which all things considered paired nicely with the red wine while I watched a movie.
All the food was served on ceramic plates, with crystal glasses, and metal cutlery. Something many airlines have taken away during covid, so it was a nice touch.
While Aeromexico did not provide a menu, not even a digital version they were helpful in telling me what various alcohol selections they had onboard, and surprisingly they were pretty well stocked. I don’t usually drink wine so I cannot tell you about the wine list, though I had a nice Argentine Malbec. I also enjoyed a few glasses of Johnny Walker Black Label and Cokes. I believe they also carried Glenfiddich though I don’t remember if it was the 12 years or 15 years offering.
I chose to have them wake me up for breakfast both times for the 2nd meal offering. Both times it was exactly the same an omlette, bacon, some asparagus, a tomato, some yogurt and your choice of whatever beverage you like.
The experience was quite similar returning from Brazil but with a welcome beverage offering, and the first snacks and meal being offered much faster.
Thoughts on Aeromexico Business Service
So the short of it is service is short and sweet, though its possible things have slightly returned to normality in 2021, as the covid-19 pandemic comes to an end, menu service will probably return. The flight attendants were quite friendly and helpful, but as I previously mentioned service was quick and functional. However, if there was anything you needed the attendants were there to help. I never ringed the assistance bell on my seat because I didn’t want to be that “guy”
Read More: Copa Airlines Business Class Flight Review
Overall rating for Aeromexico Clase Premier on the Boeing 787-9 During the Covid-19 Pandemic
- Purchasing/ticketing process: 100/100 – Aeromexico’s Club Premier program used to be a disaster, these days, everything is smooth. My points showed up instantly after transferring them from my American Express card. The booking process was easy and simple as well. Those who tried to use the Club Premier program in the past might be shocked to read this, but times truly have changed; Aeromexico’s Club Premier program deserves a second look.
- Pricing: 100/100: – I paid 105,000 Aeromexico Club Premier Kilometers, of which I had about 5,000 in my account, meaning I only needed to transfer 63k American Express Membership Reward points + $136 in taxes to book this flight. This works out to close to 5c per point compared to the roundtrip fare or 10c per point if you compared the cost of one flight to the one-way cash price! This was an absolutely fantastic, Jedi-level redemption.
- Check-in: 100/100: – No complaints here; everything was smooth.
- Boarding Process: 100/100:- Quick, easy, and efficient. I appreciated them not making Clase Premier board last as they do on domestic flights during the covid-19 times.
- Hard Product / Seat: 90/100: – Aeromexico’s Business Class seat on their Boeing 787-9 is a fantastic reverse herringbone seat with plenty of privacy and a feel that you are in your own little cabin. The 18″ screen felt luxurious, and the Entertainment system / IFE system worked well, with a great choice of movies on offer. My only complaint was on the way down from MEX to GRU; my seat didn’t fully recline, maybe 170 degrees but definitely not 180 degrees but. Luckily the seat next to me was empty. There were also “almost” free messaging apps on the wifi, which I appreciated. The bathrooms were also clean.
- Onboard Food and Drink options: 95/100: – Considering the restrictions and complications brought on by the covid-19 pandemic, I was impressed. Although there was no menu service, there was plenty of drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, to choose from. Everything was served with real cutlery. Most importantly, all the food was tasty, in some cases even delicious. This is a huge improvement compared to the Aeromexico of 2016, where the food on long-distance flights was borderline inedible.
- Lounge: 90/100: – Since writing this post, Aeromexico’s Club Premier lounge has added more offerings in 2021. Nevertheless, they were doing their best, offering free packaged hot sandwiches, a good beer and drinks selection, plenty of places to sit down, and decent wifi. My only complaint is that the wifi speeds are a drag and kill your productivity if you want to catch up on some work. On the way back from São Paolo to Mexico City, all the lounges were closed, but I don’t think it’s fair to blame Aeromexico for that, especially in November 2020.
- Amenity Kit: 86/100: – The amenity kit got the job done, and on the way down, in particular, the bag/Dopp kit was of decent quality. However, the contents were quite basic and more of what you’d expect on a 5-6 hours flight, not a 10-hour flight. Nevertheless, it got the job done, but if you expect upmarket face and hand creams like the middle eastern carriers dish out, you’ll be disappointed.
- Onboard Service, Responsiveness of Flight Attendants: 82/100: – The flight attendants were friendly and helpful, especially on the way back up from São Paolo to Mexico City. On the way down, the attendants were sometimes a bit hard to find but helpful. However, the fact that they didn’t serve any welcome drink, or any drinks, food, or even water for well over an hour after takeoff from Mexico City was a bit annoying.
Overall I was very happy with the experience. Flying in a lay-flat seat and eating on an airplane with full cutlery and crystal glasses felt like a great luxury that made me forgot we were in the middle of the covid-19 pandemic.
Is it worth it to book Aeromexico Business Class during Covid-19?
I’d say in most cases it’s worth it to fly Aeromexico international business or first class during Covid times, especially long haul over the short-haul. this is the case despite the fact that priority check-in and boarding are worth much less when nobody is at the airport due to Coronavirus. Even when they’re closing airport lounges and those that are open have much-reduced service. They’re also reducing onboard service but there are times when they completely eliminate them too. This makes business class essentially the same service as the economy but with a large bag allowance and a bigger seat.
Remember that you don’t have to part with a ton of cash to get the business/first-class travel experience class. You can use the points you earned from your credit card spending to get your next travel award. One of our Favorites is the Chase Saphire Preferred Card, which comes with a wide range of features and benefits, including a 80,000 point welcome bonus when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months of card membership and a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit.
Cardholders will also earn 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards(R), 3X points on dining, and 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more. The Sapphire Preferred packs a powerful punch for a very reasonable $95 annual fee. You can check out our full review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred to discover why it’s one of the best travel rewards cards on the market.
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