Published on November 6th, 2013 | by Mark Chesnut
AIRLINE REVIEW: American Airlines Boeing 737-800, Cancun to New York JFK
Following a recent visit to Mexico to attend Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead celebrations), I flew American Airlines on the way back from Cancun to New York City. If you’re considering an economy-class flight on American on this route, my experience can help you know what to expect.
THE ROUTE: Cancun, Mexico (CUN) to New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), economy class (3 hours, 18 minutes at 37,000 feet, Boeing 737-800)
THE AIRPORT: Travelers who need to check baggage but haven’t obtained boarding passes before arriving at the airport must stand in two lines at the Cancun airport: one to use the automated self-check-in kiosk to get the boarding pass, then another to drop off checked baggage (that’s reason enough to print your boarding pass ahead of time at the hotel; I’d been staying at the Westin Resort & Spa, but forgot to do so). Luckily, both lines were short, and I was able to finish with check-in and bag drop-off within about 15 minutes. The security line was equally short.
Cancun airport’s Terminal 3 —where American Airlines operates — is more spacious than Terminal 2, so waiting for a departing flight is a relatively pleasant experience. After passing through security, travelers walk through a large duty-free shop (nothing wrong with some last-minute moisturizer to combat dry cabin air, right?) before reaching the gates and general retail areas, which includes a food court, small souvenir shops and chain restaurants Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Margaritaville. Large, floor-to-ceiling windows make for especially good plane spotting, and I had a good time watching the planes, including several of Latin America’s biggest low-cost airlines — indeed, considering that Cancun is Mexico’s largest tourism destination, it’s no surprise that it’s a hot spot for discount carriers and cheap flights. The exact gate for my departing flight was announced about one hour before departure time.
THE AIRCRAFT: The American Airlines Boeing 737-800 was equipped with the new Sky interior, which includes mood lighting and larger overhead storage bins that, when closed, nevertheless take up less space than standard bins. The economy-class cabin had seats with wings on the headrests, which I always appreciate, but no blanket or pillow.
THE SERVICE: One round of free beverages was served during the flight (there was a charge for alcohol), and snack food was available for purchase; there was no free food or snack — I did appreciate that the flight attendants gave us the full can of the beverage requested. To watch the inflight entertainment on the overhead video screens, headsets were available for $5, although passengers were welcome to use their own headsets, which I did to watch the movie “The Way, Way Back” on the overhead video screens, followed by a variety of programming from NBC Universal on American.
THE ARRIVAL: Customs and immigration was relatively swift at the American Airlines terminal at JFK airport, as was the checked baggage delivery.
MORE LATIN AMERICA TRAVEL TIPS & AIRLINE REVIEWS:
• AIRLINE REVIEW: American Airlines Boeing 757, Quito to Miami
• AIRLINE REVIEW: JetBlue Airbus A320, Cartagena to New York JFK
• How to Get the Most from Latin America’s Low-cost Airlines
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