Published on August 6th, 2017 | by Mark Chesnut
Why You Need Extra Time If You Fly Interjet from Cancun
I recently had the pleasure of flying down to Cancun to report on two fabulous all-inclusive Mexico hotels — Finest Resort and Beloved Resort — for TravelAge West. I flew American Airlines down (click here to read my airline review and find out why I wish they had a disco tunnel) and on the way home, flew the discount Mexican airline, Interjet. This is a review of my experience — and a warning about why you need to arrive at the Cancun airport very early.
THE ROUTE: Cancun International Airport (CUN) to New York – John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK); Airbus A320; economy class; 3 hours, 15 minutes
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THE DEPARTURE: Interjet flies out of Terminal 2, which is the older of the two terminals serving international flights at the Cancun airport. The check-in process for Interjet was tiring and time-consuming. We arrived nearly three hours before our flight departure time, and it took nearly one hour standing in line to get to the check-in counter. Interjet does not provide automated kiosks for check-in, so even if you’re not checking in luggage, you’ll have no option but to stand in line.
Upon getting to the counter, we were told that there was a $25 fee for checking a bag. Fine. But the agent then advised that we’d have to leave our bags with him and walk across the hall to another Interjet counter to pay — the check-in counter was not equipped to receive payments. My traveling companion, another journalist, and I walked across the hall, where I stood in yet another line, for a total of 15 minutes, before reaching the counter. (And unlike many businesses in Cancun, they don’t accept dollars, even though the price was quoted in dollars — you must pay with a credit card or Mexican pesos.) I then walked back to the original ticket counter, showed my receipt to the agent, and he finally gave me my boarding pass.
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My questions for Interjet: Why aren’t your ticket counters equipped to handle payments? Why don’t you post a sign on the check-in line that if you plan on checking bags, you should go to the payment line first and save time? And how on earth do you consider this process — three separate points of contact and three separate lines — an efficient way to handle the check-in process?
Oh well. After an hour and 20 minutes of waiting, I was finally checked in. At least there was absolutely no line at security, and I zipped through in about five minutes. I gulped down a mini pizza in the food court, since it was close to boarding time and I confirmed that Interjet does not serve or sell meals on any flight.
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Upon arriving at the supposed gate area in the international departure section, an agent said that they weren’t sure which gate our flight would depart from, and they weren’t sure at what time. The screen said it was now an hour late. Then they changed it to just 30 minutes late, but described it on the board as “early,” since apparently it is early if you compare it to being an hour late. Then, they changed the board to say our international flight would leave from the domestic departure area, requiring a 10-minute walk in the direction from which I’d come.
Departing from the domestic area required a walk outdoors onto the tarmac, and a climb up one of the two sets of air stairs that were pulled up to the aircraft (I actually do like boarding like that, since it allows for some good photo opportunities).
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THE AIRCRAFT: Thankfully, the flight itself was a pleasure. The Interjet Airbus A320 features one class of service (economy) but all seats have slightly above-average leg room. The flight was also blissfully undersold, so I was able to switch seats and have three seats all to myself. Airline seats on the Interjet Airbus A320 have no wings, and there are no pillows or blankets on board.
Interestingly, Interjet is the only airline I know of that designates one of its rear lavatories as “females only.”
IN-FLIGHT SERVICE: The inflight entertainment consisted of an inflight magazine and overhead screens that played television shows (including “American Ninja Warrior”), part of the time with blurry pictures.
Airline food on this Interjet flight included free miniature bags of Doritos and potato chips, free soda, coffee and water (there was no juice).
THE ARRIVAL: We arrived about 30 minutes late at JFK airport. I waited for about 25 minutes for my checked luggage to be delivered.
Airport Experience: * (out of 5)