In November 2019, I flew AeroMexico from Toronto, Canada (YYZ) to Amsterdam, Netherlands (AMS). The route went through Mexico City (MEX). After spending five hours at AMS in the newly and totally remodeled KLM Crown Lounge 52, it was back on the same plane to do the same route in reverse. It was a weird routing and I never left the airport in Amsterdam. Still, as discussed below, a trip like this made great sense.
AeroMexico Is A Great Option For Earning Elite Status On Delta
AeroMexico is a Delta Air Lines Core Global Airline Partner. Delta and AeroMexico have created a strong partnership in the last 10 years. In 2011, Delta invested $65 million in AeroMexico and gained a seat on its board. They opened a maintenance facility in Mexico in 2014. In 2017, Delta acquired enough additional shares to control 49% of AeroMexico stock and the airlines entered into a joint venture with anti-trust immunity whereby they jointly determine routes and pricing on all U.S.-Mexico flights and share costs and profits.
Even though Delta is no longer my primary airline, I maintain top tier Delta Diamond Medallion status just by meeting the annual qualification dollar requirement, $15,000, and having the annual 125,000 mile qualification miles requirement deducted from previously earned rollover qualification miles. I have about 370,000 rollover miles. This process should work for a few more years barring program changes.
The primary benefits of Diamond status as I see it are free membership ($179 value) in CLEAR, a program that minimizes delays in security lines, being in the group at the top of the list for complimentary domestic first class upgrades, and having three picks each year from the list of choice benefits available to Diamond members and one pick of the choice benefits available to Platinum members.
I usually choose 4 Global Upgrades to fly business class on an economy fare, two $200 credit vouchers, and 25,000 Skymiles, which Delta would value at $250. There is an intangible benefit as well. Diamonds get outstanding customer service and phone reps often bend the rules for them. That can be invaluable at times. There is definite value to being Diamond, but $15,000 is a heck of a lot to spend on flights.
One way to meet that requirement while reducing the dent in the wallet is by flying business class on a Delta partner on a cheap fare. That is because Delta measures qualification dollars for flights on partners as a percentage of distance flown not cost of the ticket. For its most favored partners like AeroMexico, business class fares earn 40% of the distance flown. Just put a Delta frequent flyer number on the ticket and AeroMexico flights are credited to that Delta account.
In this case, the routing from Toronto to Amsterdam totals 15,488 miles. That equates to $6,195 Delta qualification dollars or just over 41% of the total qualification dollars required from only one trip. AeroMexico and China Eastern, another Delta Global Airline Partner, frequently have very good business class sales. This ticket was only $785! I can find a few sales like that each year making Diamond re-qualification seem like a no-brainer. Each Global Upgrade certificates alone can provide several thousands of dollars in value.
Very cheap business class tickets often have a funky routing, long layovers, or even a change of airports within the same city. That was the case here as the layovers at MEX were over 10 hours in both directions. I could put up with the layovers to reap the windfall in qualification dollars.
AeroMexico Flight AM25 Mexico City (MEX) to Amsterdam (AMS)
Equipment: Boeing 787-9
Distance: MEX – AMS 5,729 statute miles, (9,220 kilometers) (4,978 nautical miles) YYZ-MEX-AMS 7,744 statute miles, 12.463 kilometers, 6,729 nautical miles
Cruise Speed: .85 Mach
Range: 9,000 statute miles
Flight Time: 11 hours 5 minutes
Class of Service: Class Premier (business class)
Scheduled Departure: 23:30
Scheduled Arrival: 17:35+1
The flight boarded at Benito Juarez International Airport Terminal 2, Gate 68. The process started at 22:57 and was well managed. Separate boarding lines for each group made lining up easy.
A see-through jetway connected to the second door on the port side. All passengers used this jetway to board. If one must use a gerbil tube to get on the plane, at least it is nice to have one with a view.
AeroMexico 787-9 Cabin and Seating
AeroMexico has nine 787s in its fleet. All 787-9s can carry 274 passengers: 36 Class Premier (business class) seats in two cabins and 238 economy seats. The forward business cabin holds 30 seats. The rear cabin holds six seats. Business class cabins are separated by a galley and exit doors.
The 787-9 is AeroMexico’s flagship. Business class is outfitted with customer friendly Collins Super Diamond seats all with direct aisle access and lie-flat recline. Seats are arranged 1-2-1. These seats are 20 inches wide. Distance between seats is 60 inches.
With the seat fully reclined, feet fit into a space under the console of the seat in front. It is snug but comfortable and there is enough room on the floor to set a backpack or purse during cruise.
The best feature of these seats is the amount of secure storage. A vanity mirror is a nice touch. Video remote, headphone jack and electrical sockets are tucked away out of sight.
AeroMexico supplies a large pillow and duvet, bottled water, noise-cancelling headphones, and a Boggi amenity kit.
This aircraft is equipped with Panasonic WiFi. Passengers may use messaging service from Whats App and Facebook without charge. AeroMexico 737s have the faster 2Ku Gogo WiFi
While at the gate, flight attendants offered juice and water but no champagne and handed out menus and amenity kits. We pushed from the gate at 23:46. Takeoff was at 00:03. The captain announced a flight time of 10 hours and eight minutes. ETA 16:47.
The service plan called for dinner and breakfast. Snacks were available in the galley between meals. Since this was a red-eye flight, a full diner service was a pleasant surprise.
Four days before departure, AeroMexico sends an email to business class passengers asking to select an entree. Choices can be made or changed until 48 hours before departure.
AeroMexico surpasses US airlines in offering food and beverages on nearly all flights. After 11:00 alcoholic beverages are free! Tequila anyone?
I chose a short rib entree on the website. The flight attendants confirmed my order on board. Service began as the flight leveled at our cruise altitude.
Malbec went well with the entree.
After dinner many passengers slept or perused the in-flight entertainment (IFE). Super Diamond seats have an 18-inch video monitor that is fixed in place. Viewing should be available at boarding, but on this flight screens were off until after takeoff. IFE selections include recently released and classic movies, TV series, and documentaries.
I watched a movie and visited the galley for snacks. AeroMexico puts out a great collection of snacks and beverages in the galley between business cabins. Passengers help themselves.
This area is a nice spot for passengers to congregate and meet fellow travelers. American Airlines is the only other airline I’m familiar with that has such a large and beautifully arranged display of tasty snacks and beverages.
787s Are My Favorite
In spite of my profound disappointment with the way Boeing handled the 737 Max, the 787 remains the plane I like traveling on best in business class. Economy, with seats 17 inches wide, is another story.
Large 19-inch tall windows have no shades. They are the best windows on any commercial aircraft. The amount of light that enters is controlled by running an electrical current through a gel sandwiched between the window panes. To reduce jet lag, the cabin is pressurized to a lower altitude and has higher humidity than previous planes.
The use of composites in the wings and fuselage increases rigidity and reduces the effects of turbulence. AeroMexico adds LED mood lighting to create ambiance. Another feature I always appreciate is individually controlled air vents which give passengers greater control of their environment.
I visited the lavatories a couple of times. They were clean. Hand lotion, a flower and a window are nice touches usually found only on more highly rated airlines.
The arrival meal was served 80 minutes before landing.
I asked for baked oatmeal. It was my first time trying that dish. I think it must be an acquired taste.
Except for the oatmeal, breakfast was good. I can’t recall an airplane breakfast that did not include yogurt. I’m starting to like it now. I always appreciate fruit.
After the meal there was plenty of time for everyone to stow gear, visit the lav, and tidy up themselves and their seating area for landing. We touched down at 16:59 and arrived at Gate 7 at 17:09 about 20 minutes later than the ETA at takeoff but still 25 minutes ahead of schedule.
I chose this flight solely because it would earn a huge amount of Delta qualifying dollars. I expected just an average on board experience even though the flight was on my favorite aircraft. This flight was much better than that. The Super Diamond seat proved once again to be outstanding for business class. Furthermore, AeroMexico’s service measured up nicely to standards generally expected on a long-haul intentional flight.
AeroMexico distinguished itself in handling the little things such as the snack display, a flower and window in the lav, individual air vents, full diner service on a red-eye fight, ordering meals online, and free Facebook and What’s App messaging. That’s what made this flight very enjoyable as well as a gold mine of delta qualification dollars.