A good friend of mine just returned from an AeroMexico business class mileage run/mini-vacation to Europe. (No, this is not about René or me.)
He stayed three nights, enjoyed great food, and had a good time. Until he got home to the United States. And his luggage wasn’t at baggage claim.
His $715 Briggs and Riley Deluxe checked bag was nowhere to be found. When I say “nowhere I to be found” I mean that it wasn’t at the baggage carousel. Or somewhere else at the airport. He told me AeroMexico didn’t know if the suitcase was even put on his connecting flight in Mexico City. Perhaps it was on its way somewhere else in the world.
He made some phone calls and, a day later, learned his bag was in Mexico City.
So, what happened? (You may already know where this is going.)
You Have to Claim and Recheck Your Bags in Mexico City
My friend stepped off the plane in Mexico City, rejuvenated from his three days in Europe and the fact he was earning a ton of MQD on this Delta partner trip.
However, he assumed his checked bag would simply be transferred from his inbound flight to his flight home. Why? His checked checked bag seamlessly made it to Europe on the outbound flights.
So once he landed in MEX, he cleared, went to his gate, and flew home.
So that’s why he was expecting his luggage.
I called AeroMexico and asked what the checked baggage procedure is when connecting through Mexico City from the USA to another international destination (i.e. Europe). The rep told me all checked luggage must be claimed in Mexico and then rechecked to the connecting flight.
So that’s the official answer.
As with almost everything travel-related, there will be anecdotes like, “That’s not how it works!” or “Wrong!” But those are the rules that AeroMexico told me.
So if you plan to check a bag on your AeroMexico flight, leave yourself some time to claim and take it to the re-check area (which, I believe is just past immigration).
Reader and frequent mileage runner Wayne has connected at MEX many, many times. He says that it always takes at least an hour for checked bags to come out. But if there isn’t an available gate for your plane, it usually parks at a ramp. Then you have to take a bus. When you get to customs there usually are a lot of people there.
“Passengers with checked luggage could potentially wait about two-and-a-half hours to make their connecting flight,” he told me. “In my opinion, checking luggage with a MEX connection is a very risky plan. A carry-on bag is the only way to go.” (Wayne also highly recommends the Centurion Lounge in Mexico City, which René reviewed here.)
Why Not Just Carry On?
When at all possible, I try to get everything in my Travel Pro rollaboard and Nomad Lane Bento Bag. Even if I’m going for four days or so. It can be tough, for sure. But I’ve learned to make do and bring several scented dryer sheets along 🙂
However, AeroMexico has a policy that your carry-ons can’t exceed 22 lbs combined. But I’ve heard that business class passengers sometimes are given a little leeway. So if you’re a heavy packer, you may indeed want to check bags. (Just remember to re-claim them!) But leave yourself plenty of time in Mexico City.
For mileage runs with maybe one night at your destination, I’d recommend trying to pack lightly and squeeze everything into your carryons. Especially considering you’ll spend more time flying and in airports than at your destination.
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