I usually do not write trip reports about coach flights, but since this Interjet flight from Mexico City to Dallas Fort Worth was operated by a pretty rare aircraft, the Sukhoi Superjet 100, I decided to make an exception to that rule.
Getting back to the U.S. from Cuba has become a lot easier lately, with U.S.-based carriers finally establishing direct flights between the U.S. and Cuba. Back in September when this trip took place, there weren't any direct flights yet, so I had the choice between a rather long trip via Canada or flying via Mexico. I decided to go with Interjet, a Mexican low-cost-carrier with coach-only service. As an added bonus, Interjet operates a Sukhoi Superjet-100 aircraft on the airline's flights between Mexico City and Dallas Fort Worth.
Day of departure
Having arrived the night before on a flight from Havana, I stayed at the Hilton Mexico City Airport - can't beat the location of the hotel directly in the terminal. After a short walk over to the check-in area for flights to the U.S., I was able to obtain my boarding pass. The check-in area was deserted, maybe because most of Interjet's flights to the U.S. were scheduled to leave in the afternoon, unlike the flight to DFW, which is scheduled to leave at 11:45 am.
Mexico City is an interesting airport, with some concourses dating back to the 70s and other airport areas looking brand new. There wasn't a whole lot to do airside. Security and immigration only took a couple of minutes, so I had about an hour left until boarding was scheduled to commence. My flight was scheduled to leave out of gate 36 and most flights to the U.S. seemed to be leaving from adjacent gates. As the boarding time came closer, I was surprised about how few people were in the gate area.
About ten minutes after boarding was supposed to commence, the gate agent invited Priority customers to board the aircraft. A few minutes later, general boarding was called and I slowly made my way onto the aircraft. There still weren't more than maybe 20-30 people in the gate area and I was hoping that it would be a somewhat empty flights, a rare occurrence for someone who mostly flies within the US. I was excited to finally be on a Russian-built aircraft.
Upon entering the cabin, I did notice that everything, the aircraft interior, the fasten-seat belt signs, the seats, looked slightly different than what you are used to seeing in Airbus or Boeing aircraft.
I quickly proceeded to my seat and settled down - the cushions were pretty slim and I wouldn't wanna spend more than a couple of hours in this aircraft.
Even the IFE screens had an odd format, optimized for a wide-screen format and somewhat smaller than the ones you usually see on Airbus and Boeing aircraft.
During boarding, an automated announcement informed us that the aircraft was being refueled and that we should not fasten the seat-belts yet - the announcement played for what felt like 10 times, not sure if that was a system bug or intentional, but annoying either way.
Boarding was completed and the flight was not even half-full. Entire rows of seats were empty, but for some odd reason, maybe weight and balance issues, most people had neighbors. I asked the flight attendants if I could move and did so after the doors were closed. A SSJ-100 was parked at the gate next door so I was able to snap this picture if it.
Interjet has a very nice livery and I liked its corporate colors. Since I was on a SSJ-100, I also took a picture of this somewhat rare safety card.
The interior design of the cabin was actually pretty nice and I also liked this plaque on the bulhead row.
We were soon on our way to the runway and took-off - and wow, the SSJ-100 sure is a loud aircraft. Even with my noise-cancelling headset I was barley able to hear the show I was playing on my laptop.
I couldn't help but notice these two Airberlin A330 aircraft - they must be in Mexico City for maintenance, since Airberlin does not fly to MEX as far as I know.
Although I only stayed at the airport this time, I really want to find some time to explore Mexico City for a couple of days - the metropolitan area looked huge!
We soon pierced through the cloud cover and the seat-belt sign was turned off.
Soon after we leveled-off, the flight attendants brought out a trolley. Interjet's in-flight service is actually pretty nice - they don't charge for alcoholic drinks and as far as I could tell, you also couldn't buy any food.
Instead, passengers could chose between three different types of potato chips. I also received an entire plastic bottle of coke -pretty generous, and other passengers seemed to be getting bottles as well so this wasn't an exception.
One of the odd things I noticed on Interjet was that they had a "women only" bathroom - that's right, a bathroom reserved for women, I haven't seen this on any other airline.
I checked out the lavatory located in the front section and it also looked different than what I am used to in Airbus and Boeing jet. The water faucet also did not work so no washing hands today I guess.
Soon, we commenced our descend into the Dallas Fort Worth area.
We arrived at one of the low D-gates and unfortunately, we had just arrived after the Qantas A380 flight, which meant a little wait at customs, but luckily no wait at immigration.
Based on my limited experience of two flights with Interjet, it is certainly a decent airline. Service is polite and efficient, I liked that alcoholic beverages are free of charge and I think that the potato chips are an adequate snack for the short routes they fly. The flight from Mexico City to Dallas Fort Worth was very comfortable due to the fact that the flight was only 1/3 full. The Sukhoi Superjet was very loud, but is otherwise very comparable to the usual Airbus, Boeing and Embraer aircraft.