I flew business class on the only Dreamliner route between the US and Mexico — here's what it was like

Aeromexico business class 787-9

  • While most flights within North America are operated by narrow-body aircraft — except for major flagship routes like New York to Los Angeles or New York to Miami — there’s one flight a day between New York and Mexico City flown by a modern 787 Dreamliner.
  • Aeromexico — which operates a joint venture with Delta — has one flight a day with the new, luxurious plane.
  • The airline says it uses the Dreamliner to offer a premium experience on the important route, and to increase capacity.
  • I flew in business class on the route to see what it was like.

Joint ventures are a popular way for airlines to work together beyond the typical practices enabled by airline alliances and codeshares.

These partnerships allow separate carriers, which would otherwise compete on certain routes, to coordinate schedules, pricing, and equipment. The airlines in the venture can grab a corner of the market, and together offer stronger competition against third-party competitors. Unlike other partnerships like alliances, joint ventures are immune from anti-trust regulations.

In addition to trans-oceanic joint ventures — like American Airlines, British Airways, and Iberia over the Atlantic — plenty of these agreements exist between airlines from neighboring countries.

Looking towards the south, Delta and AeroMexico have been operating a joint venture since 2017, strengthening the pre-existing relationship the airlines already had as founding members of the SkyTeam alliance.

With dozens of flights each day between the US and Mexico on both carriers, the partnership means that it’s possible for passengers to book an itinerary throughout both airlines‘ route networks, opening a wide range of destinations and connections.

The on-board experience

Despite booking between the two airlines being seamless, your actual experience can vary dramatically — much more so than on American Airlines compared to British Airways across the Atlantic, another joint venture.

For example, AeroMexico serves full meals on most of its flights between the US and Mexico, while Delta only offers snacks and purchasable options in coach.

If you fly the busy New York–Mexico City route, the other big difference you may spot is the type of aircraft you fly.

Delta’s operations to Mexico, and most of AeroMexico to the US, are operated by narrow-body aircraft like the Boeing 737 aircraft, the venerable short- and medium-haul workhorse.

However, Aeromexico elects to operate one flight a day between New York City and Mexico City with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the modern, long-haul, wide-body plane usually used for intercontinental flights.

Aeromexico has a total of 17 Dreamliners in its fleet, according to Airfleets.net — both 787-8s and larger 787-9s. 

While it uses most of those Dreamliners on flights to Europe, Asia, and to farther-away destinations in South America, it reserves one for the daily New York flight. 

Although the 787-9 — with its range of more than 9,000 miles, might be a bit overkill for the approximately 2,100 mile flight between the two cities, Aeromexico says it has compelling reasons to use the plane.

„We wanted to offer a premium experience to our passengers, in one of our most demanding routes, and also to provide a seat capacity increase“ said Emilio Diaz, a spokesman for Aeromexico. 

Recently, I had the opportunity to fly Aeromexico’s 787-9 from JFK to Mexico City, the first segment in a trip to Santiago, Chile. My wife and I took advantage of an incredible business class sale last fall, which let us snag seats in the front cabin for around the normal price of coach on that route. We continued from Santiago to Easter Island, but the connection in Mexico City offered a great opportunity to see what Aeromexico’s JFK Dreamliner service was like.

SEE ALSO: I flew on the longest flight in the world, which lasts nearly 18 hours and covers 10,000 miles. Here’s what it’s like.

AeroMexico flies out of JFK Terminal 4, which predominately services Delta. Check-in was easy, with a dedicated SkyPriority area for business class passengers and SkyTeam elites. There happened to be a large group in front of us, but we were able to drop our bags after just a few minutes.

Aeromexico doesn’t have its own lounge at JFK, so business class passengers can use Delta’s Sky Club. I usually fly Delta so I’ve been in this Sky Club a number of times — it can get crowded, but there’s usually plenty of seating. This time, for some reason, it was absolutely overflowing. Eventually we found seats, and had a quick snack before heading to the gate just in time for boarding to start.

We were on board fairly quickly. AeroMexico’s 787-9 features seats made by B/E Aerospace laid out in a desirable 1-2-1 reverse herringbone configuration, so every passenger has direct aisle access, without having to step over anyone. This is especially useful since the seats are all lie-flat and turn into fully-flat beds.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Source: Business insider

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