Flying Interjet Between Canada and Mexico: What You Need to Know
At this time, Interjet offers service to Mexico City and Cancun from Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, the 3 busiest Canadian airports utilizing Airbus A320 aircraft. As it is a new airline, I’ve been asked what I think of them, whether or not they’re a reputable airline and if I’d fly them. In this post, I will discuss some considerations based on my research and experience to help you decide whether or not you want to fly Interjet between Canada and Mexico.
While you may not have heard about Interjet, the airline has been around 12 years and brands itself as the “JetBlue of Mexico” and if you’ve seen their planes, you may notice the similarities. In the last year, Interjet has been aggressively trying to expand its market share for Canada-Mexico routes, as other airlines have been doing. Can you believe that on some days there are 6 direct flights to Mexico City from Vancouver between Interjet, Aeromexico, Air Canada, and WestJet?
We flew on InterJet 4O 2860 from CUN – Cancun to YVR – Vancouver in December 2017.
1) Reviews about Interjet:
A quick Google search for “Interjet” reviews will bring up reviews on TripAdvisor, SKYTRAX, Facebook, Yelp, Airline Ratings and Kayak and when you start to read them, you might start to feel nervous about booking due to negative reviews. Like I have detailed in my TripAdvisor post, reviews need to be taken with a grain of salt and a quick Google search for other airline reviews will generate similar results as those for Interjet; there will always be the “worst airline ever” reviews for any airline in business. In some cases, expectations about service and lack of understanding of the “terms and conditions of carriage” often lead to negative reviews.
That being said, there are some things that do stand out with Interjet’s reviews and those are:
- Flight delays/Flights Re-Routed through Mexico City: Flight delays/cancellations occur for all airlines due to weather, mechanical issues, and crew duty time when delays are too long. In Interjet’s case, their hub is MEX – Mexico City (Aeropuerto Internacional Benito Juarez), which is notorious for delays due to air traffic and limited gates. That being said, from what I can see, Interjet does take this into account when they list the “blocked time” for their flights, which is the time from gate-to- gate. As their hub is MEX – Mexico City, they don’t have lots of aircraft on the ground in Vancouver, Montreal, or Vancouver and so if there is a delay, it could lead to a cancellation until they can re-position an aircraft, depending on the type of issue. In addition, if it is weather related, they will most likely not put you on another airline’s flight, and this is common for all airlines. I would recommend using a site like FlightRadar24 or FlightAware to get historical data on the flight you are planning on taking to see how often it was delayed/cancelled to give you an idea of its on-time factor.
- Prices Listed in Local Currency but Billed in $USD: When we booked, we were charged the currency quoted and had no issues; we were quoted in Mexican Pesos and paid in Mexican Pesos. You need to be diligent in ensuring the correct country is selected when you access the Interjet website.
This is what they cite in the “Fare Rules”:
*On flights between Mexico and Canada, charges for reservations, changes, service charges or issues will be made in CAD legal tender in Canada and in the rest of the international flights the collection for reservation, changes, service charges or emission Will realize in USD currency of legal tender in the United States of America and the conversion will be realized in local currency of the country where the reservation is made, according to the exchange rate in force at the moment of purchase or change. *The final price will be displayed at the time of reservation or change.
- Customer Service: A lot of people say their customer service is horrendous when you need to call and make a change and/or request a refund. While I have not had to interact with Interjet customer service via the phone, I have had mixed experiences with many airlines, from long waits to limited options, and ultimately unresolved issues. Once an airline has your money, it is very unlikely you will get a refund, and most often credits are offered. For this reason, I would recommend ensuring that you have travel insurance to help you resolve any issues you encounter. My husband has an American Express Gold card and I have an American Express Platinum card* and we have been very satisfied with the trip interruption insurance provided. In one circumstance, we were not refunded when eligible due to travel interruption, and they assisted us with that claim.
2) Inflight Experience: While other airlines are making seats smaller and adding ancillary fees for almost anything and everything, Interjet has taken a different strategy; at this time, there is no fee for a checked bag, all seats have 86 cm of pitch (WestJet has 78-84 cms on a 737), and they offer a complimentary snack and non-alcoholic and/or alcoholic drink (beer, tequila, and whiskey) for all guests. We found the aircraft to be clean and comfortable and I appreciated the “Women’s/Mujeres” only bathroom even if men used it. If you are in a window or middle seat, an average person would most likely be able to access the aisle without asking their neighbors to get up.
Interjet doesn’t have an in-flight entertainment system like other airlines; a screen hangs from the overhead bin and they run through a variety of programs like “How I met Your Mother”, “Wipe-Out” and programs for children. In November 2017, they selected Panasonic’s Innovative Inflight Entertainment (IFE) system and WiFi for their Airbus A320 fleet. I would still recommend you bring your own entertainment as a backup though.
Onboard, we were offered a snack which consisted of a ham and cheese sandwich and small bag of chips with a drink; I had a Corona. There is no buy onboard and as our flight was 6 hours and 30 minutes, I did get hungry and ate the snacks I brought with me. I would recommend bringing your own food and snacks on board to supplement what they offer you.
While the Flight Attendants were not the friendliest, they weren’t the worst either; they just seemed slightly unmotivated to service the cabin and the passengers.
3) Check-In Process: If there was one thing that we must comment on negatively is the check-in process for Interjet from CUN – Cancun Airport; you need to allocate enough time for this process as online check-in doesn’t work nor do the kiosks at the airport. Due to Canada’s new requirement for all non-passport holders to obtain an eTA, all passengers must check-in at the airport and see an agent. We arrived at 13:30 for a 16:10 departure and while there were only 15-20 passengers ahead of us, it took us 45 minutes to get our boarding passes. While there were 4 desks for the YUL – Montreal flight that departs around the same time, there were 1-2 desks for the YVR – Vancouver flight. There was also a lot of confusion by passengers who did not have an eTA as they argued with the agents about it and kudos to the agents for being polite but these passengers spent a good 5-10 minutes at the desk. I spoke to other passengers on the flight who also experienced this slow check-in.
4) Overall: We enjoyed our flight on Interjet and would definitely fly with them again, especially due to how competitive their pricing is. We flew on WestJet to get to CUN – Cancun and really didn’t feel like our experience on WestJet was better than what we had on Interjet. I truly believe that if you are willing to fly Air Canada Rouge, WestJet, Sunwing, or Air Transat to Mexico, there is no reason to not consider Interjet as an alternate choice. Unless you are looking to obtain elite status and points, Interjet is a good choice to consider for infrequent and frequent travelers.
We feel assured by our travel insurance through our American Express cards in case we do experience any issues. While Interjet has been around for 12 years, anything can happen so we’d probably book flights that we intend to take within 1-3 months as opposed to one whole year in advance as their rapid expansion does make one question how stable they are from a cash flow perspective. While we did enjoy the Airbus A320 service, we would be slightly hesitant to fly with them within Mexico as they use Sukhoi Superjet 100, an aircraft that has been plagued with issues since they took possession of them, and something that we feel was a bad decision overall. We really do hope Interjet’s service between major Canadian cities and Mexico continues as competition is always good, especially since Canadians don’t have as many options as other countries when it comes to air carriers.
Have you flown Interjet? If yes, what was your experience? Did this post help you in deciding whether or not you will fly Interjet? Do you have other questions?
- * I have pasted a referral link about the American Express Platinum card; if you sign-up, we will both get bonus points. Please let me know if you have questions about the card and will sign-up. It’s a great card to have as it gives you lounge access and elite status with hotel programs to make travel more seamless and comfortable.
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