Aeromexico “Clase Premier” Boeing 787-9 from New York to Mexico City
Back in early August, Smiles, the frequent flyer program of GOL, an airline based in Brazil, was offering triple miles on select hotel stays when booked directly through Smiles. Persuaded by an incorrect award chart, I decided to book a two-night stay at the Le Meridien in Dallas. That stay earned me 63,000 Smiles miles, which at the time, I thought was enough for international first class.
It turns out that Smiles miles are not nearly as valuable as I had thought and I was over 300,000 miles short of a one-way flight in international first class. So, I spent some time looking at Smiles’ award redemption rates and managed to come across an interesting redemption. For just 22,500 Smiles miles, I could fly from New York (JFK) to Mexico City in Aeromexico’s brand new business class (Clase Premier) on the airline’s Boeing 787-9.
With very few attractive award flights available and little time left this summer, I booked a one-way ticket from New York to Mexico aboard Aeromexico’s new Boeing 787-9 in Clase Premier. Though I wasn’t expecting much (I even questioned whether or not I should expect a meal) Aeromexico’s Clase Premier turned out to be a competitive and comfortable product.
Aeromexico Business Class Check-In at New York-JFK
I ended up flying into New York-LaGuardia from St. Louis due to a lack of nonstop flights from St. Louis to JFK. After an amazing breakfast at the Centurion Lounge at LaGuardia, I battled the horrific rideshare setup and took an Uber from LaGuardia to New York-Kennedy.
My Uber driver, though his English wasn’t the best, decided to make some conversation. He asked me where I was from. I told him, “St. Louis.” He then asked, “Why are you headed to JFK, flight to Europe?” I told him, “No, I’m headed to Mexico City.” He chuckled and with a confused look on his face told me that my itinerary didn’t make much sense as if I didn’t already that. “You should have flown to Chicago or Dallas first; it’s much faster.”
After the twenty-ish minute Uber ride, I pulled up to New York’s Terminal 4. Terminal 4 is home to Delta’s sprawling New York-JFK hub as well as Virgin Atlantic and Aeromexico. Delta’s joint-venture with Virgin Atlantic and Aeromexico is very visible at Terminal 4.
Aeromexico used to operate out of Terminal 2 with other SkyTeam carriers but recently moved to Terminal 4. Additionally, Aeromexico’s ticketing is located just across from Delta’s ticketing counters. What was especially surprising was that Aeromexico uses Delta’s kiosks. I went to Aeromexico’s kiosks to print my boarding pass and confirm my passport. When I received my boarding pass, my ticket displayed “Delta Air Lines” in the top left corner.
After printing my boarding pass, I proceeded to TSAPreCheck. The line was short though, took a while due to certain passengers slowing down the line. While I was in the PreCheck line, I looked around the terminal. As I surveyed the terminal, something caught my eye. I turned back around, and sure enough, Amy Poehler was standing just three passengers behind me.
After clearing security, I proceeded to the Delta SkyClub. Aeromexico, being a SkyTeam carrier, uses Delta’s SkyClub. The SkyClub is fine, but I was hoping to visit the Air France Lounge or the Alitalia Lounge in Terminal 2. I didn’t review the Terminal 4 SkyClub this time around, but I have reviewed the lounge in the past.
After spending a little over an hour and a half in the SkyClub, I made my way down to the gate to board my flight to Mexico City.
Aeromexico Business Class, Flight AM409
I sat in the gate area for awhile. Ten minutes before scheduled boarding, no one had lined up, so I made my way closer to the SkyPriority boarding lane. When two other passengers lined up behind the rope in front of the business class lane, I decided to line up behind them. Within five minutes, there was thirty to forty other passenger lined up behind me.
Aeromexico appeared to use just two lanes and two boarding groups, SkyPriority (Clase Premier) and Clase Tourista. All passengers were asked to line up in two lines five minutes before boarding. Both the business class and economy class lines ran the length of two gate areas in the terminal.
One of the five gate agents walked over to the business class line and checked passports. He explained that business class passengers would have their passports checked before boarding so that we could put our documents away once boarding began. After he had checked all passports, boarding commenced.
Aeromexico Business Class Seat 10A
I assigned myself seat 10A via Aeromexico’s website. I was able to access my reservation through Aeromexico’s website up until 24 hours prior to departure at which point Aeromexico’s website directed me to go to Delta’s website for any further information regarding my reservation. Both Aeromexico and Delta’s websites provided accurate information regarding the seat map.
Aeromexico’s Boeing 787-9 is configured in a 1-2-1 layout for the majority of the cabin. However, behind the business class bar, there’s a mini-cabin configured with a row of two middle seats and then a row of two windows and two aisle seats. Only three of the six seats in the mini-cabin were occupied, and all but one of those passengers slept the entire flight. This would turn out to be both a blessing and a curse late in the flight.
Aeromexico Business Class Seat
On the Boeing 787-8, Aeromexico’s business class product is the standard lie-flat product configured in a 2-2-2 layout. Though the seats are lie-flat seats, it’s not a very competitive product. On the Boeing 787-9, however, Aeromexico opted to install B/E Aerospace Super Diamond seats. The seats found on Aeromexico’s Boeing 787-9s are also found on Air Canada, American Airlines, and Qatar. The B/E Aerospace Super Diamond seats might be my favorite business class product at the moment.
The seat was very private and comfortable. The flight from New York to Mexico City was a day flight and too short to sleep on so I can’t attest to the comfort of the seat when it’s in the lie-flat position. However, I did find the seat to be very comfortable otherwise.
The seat does, however, lack a real headrest which was noticeable. Additionally, the seat wasn’t especially padded. Still, the seat was more than adequate for a four-hour flight. I could see the seat becoming a little uncomfortable on a ten-hour flight to Madrid or fourteen-hour flight to Shanghai.
There was ample storage. There were two storage compartments to the left built into the side of the seat. Additionally, the armrest features a storage compartment. There were a USB port and AC outlet under located in one of the compartments built into the seat. The in-flight entertainment remote was also found adjacent to the USB port. Behind the seat in a rather inconvenient location was the magazine and safety card holder.
Aeromexico Business Class JFK-MEX Service
When I boarded, I found a pillow, blanket, and headphones at my seat. Aeromexico does offer an amenity kit. However, this flight was too short for the kit to be offered. The pillow was thick and similar to what other airlines offer while the blanket was what would be offered in economy on most airlines. It appears a thicker and more adequate duvet is offered on longer flights. I brought along my headphones, so I didn’t even mess with Aeromexico’s headphones.
After taking pictures and storing my bags, I sat down and settled into my seat. Once economy passenger started boarding, I didn’t see a single flight attendant. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until well after all passengers had boarded that I saw a flight attendant.
Once all passengers had taken their seats, roughly ten minutes prior to scheduled departure, a flight attendant made his way through business class with menus and immigration cards. When he made his way to my seat, he asked me something in Spanish. My Spanish is okay, but the flight attendant asked me this question so fast if he had said it in English, I still wouldn’t have known what he said. It turned out he was asking if I wanted lunch and if I needed an immigration card.
Another ten minutes passed, and it was evident that we were not going to be departing on time. Fifteen minutes later, another flight attendant came down the aisle with pre-departure beverages. Juice, water, and champagne were offered. Since I was on a Mexican carrier (drinking age is 18 😉 ), I opted for a glass of champagne.
The flight ended up being delayed for over an hour, though for some reason, the delay was hardly noticeable. It certainly wasn’t thanks to the crew who, for the duration of the delay, stood in the galley and ate Buffalo Wild Wings. The delay turned out to be the result of engine oil, and after maintenance handled the issue, we were on our way.
Aeromexico Business Class Meal Service
A few days prior to departure, I was so unsure of Aeromexico’s in-flight service that I actually sent a message to Aeromexico’s Twitter team asking if there would be a hot meal provided. It turns out, not only is there a hot meal provided, but a full menu was provided.
To my surprise, the options on my flight were a pasta or cheeseburger. I was actually looking forward to a Mexican dish since I was flying on the official airline of Mexico. The only Mexican item on the menu was tequila though; I wasn’t in the mood to drink hard liquor.
I ended up ordering the pasta. It must have been an hour and a half into the flight that the meal service began. I honestly don’t know where the flight attendants were for the first hour and a half of the flight. Once the aircraft made it to cruising altitude, I visited the lavatory. However, not a single flight attendant was in the galley. The fact that I was pretty much the only passenger that stayed awake in the mini-cabin was probably one major factor that I received such spotty service.
The meal service began with a hot towel. Shortly after I received a hot towel, I was served a small cheese plate. The cheese plate was surprisingly tasty with both kinds of cheese being fresh and full of flavor.
Fifteen minutes after the cheese course, I received my entree. In addition to my pasta served with a red sauce, asparagus and a salad accompanied the meal. The asparagus was served cold and was unappealing while the salad was fresh and tasty. The main course, the pasta, was okay. It was somewhat bland. However, it was certainly adequate for a four-hour flight.
One follower on Twitter, after I had sent a Tweet about the lack of authentic catering, noted that on longer flights, it’s likely a fuller and more authentic menu is offered. It appears that that’s not the case. Ben from OneMileAtATime covered Aeromexico’s Boeing 787-8 business class a while back, and it appears pasta was also an option on his flight.
After the main course, dessert was served. There was a choice between cheesecake and ice cream. The cheesecake was smothered in berries which didn’t appeal to me, so I went with the ice cream. The ice cream was served in the original packaging as hard as a rock. I had to wait a few minute for the ice cream to thaw. Once it thawed, the vanilla ice cream hit the spot.
After dessert, I decided to sit back and watch some live TV accompanied with a Stella Artois.
Aeromexico Business Class In-Flight Entertainment
Aeromexico’s in-flight entertainment is easy to use, however, is lacking in content. There were just a few popular new movie releases available in English and a few in Spanish. The TV selection was a little more substantial. However, the only series I cared to watch I had seen all the available episodes. So, for the entire flight, I watched live news on CNN International. In additional to CNN, there was another live channel.
Wi-fi is installed on all of Aeromexico’s Boeing 787s, however, on my flight, the wi-fi wasn’t available. I was able to connect to the in-flight wi-fi. However, the portal to connect to the internet was loading. It appears that the wi-fi wasn’t turned on for my flight.
Aeromexico Business Class Bar and Service
After dinner, I decided to visit Aeromexico’s self-serve bar. The self-serve bar is unique to the Boeing 787-9. On Aeromexico’s website, there are images of champagne on ice, hearty snacks, a wide array of beverages, and desserts out on display in the bar area. When I visited the bar, the only snack served was mixed nuts. Additionally, one of each soft drink was stocked while the wine had not been opened. There were water bottles available throughout the flight.
The way in which the crew handled the self-serve bar is reflective of the way they worked throughout the flight. Other than one truly awful and rude male flight attendant, the rest of the crew was polite and upbeat. However, they were only polite and upbeat when they were in the aisles or approached by passengers. They never went through the aisle voluntarily to serve drinks, and they seemed disinterested in doing their jobs.
The crew seemed to want to hang out with each other in the forward galley the entire flight rather than serve passengers. That’s a shame because Aeromexico has an amazing new business class product for the flight crew’s incompetence to wreck it.
Aside from the flight attendants, or rather the lack thereof, I can’t complain about my flight in Aeromexico’s new business class. Aeromexico’s business class (Clase Premier) is a competitive product with the latest in-flight entertainment system (lacking content), potentially great wi-fi, and a comfortable seat. Moreso, the meal service on this flight was also on-par to what American and Delta offer on flights of similar length.
I do wonder if I had been flying between Mexico City and Paris if the lack of an attentive flight crew and mediocre catering would have worn me down. Given the ideal flight time and that I booked this flight with just a handful of miles, I was more willing to have an open mind and enjoy the flight.
Have you flown in Aeromexico’s business class? What do you think of Aeromexico’s new Clase Premier?