Changing from AA to Mexicana in MEX-How easy is it?

Old Jul 6th, 2008, 04:49 AM
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Changing from AA to Mexicana in MEX-How easy is it?

I will be traveling on AA to Mexico City (MEX) and then changing to Mexicana for a flight to Villahermosa.

1. Am I going to have to completely clear Mexican immigration and customs in Mexico City, check in at the Mexicana ticket counter, get a boarding pass and then reclear security?

2. Or will I be able to simply proceed directly to a Mexicana gate, get a boarding pass at the gate and board my flight to Villahermosa?

#2 would be much simpler but I am sure that I have to clear some sort of Mexican immigration in MEX. I will have only carry on so I don't want to go through the customs hassle if possible. Especially since I have only slightly more than one hour in MEX.

AA said they will not issue my boarding pass on Mexicana which would have made things much simpler.
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Old Jul 6th, 2008, 06:26 AM
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I don`t know. I am changing planes in Dallas/ Fort Worth from AA to Mexicana. It`s a code share with AA, so I don`t know if AA will give me a boarding pass on Mexicana. Is your flight a code share? I don`t know about customs and immigration. AA did give me a number to call Mexicana, which I did, to get a seat assignment. You could try calling that number. I did get to talk to a real person. The number is 1 800 531 7921. They should be able to help you with your questions.
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Old Jul 6th, 2008, 07:34 AM
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Immigration and Customs are separate in Mexico City. You WILL have to go through Immigration, but not Customs, and I'm pretty sure you will not be leaving the security area. This should be practically seamless, especially if you have no checked luggage. Unlike the US, in Mexico you only go through Customs at your final destination, and in many vacation areas--I'm only familiar with PV, Oaxaca and Cabo--"Customs" consists of grabbing your bag and leaving.
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Old Jul 6th, 2008, 08:11 AM
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thanks for the info. In the meantime I discovered a live "chat" with Mexicana on their web site and here is what they told me:

In MEX I will not have to clear immigration or customs. I will proceed directly to the Mexicana Gate. Even though I am on a code share, my Mexicana portion has its own res. code which she gave me. She said I can print my Mexicana boarding passes off 48 hours before I leave the states so theoretically I will already have them.

I am still a little confused about the immigration part because a few years ago when I changed in MEX to Guadalajara and Oaxaca there used to be a little immigration check "Kisosk" in the main hallway that checked your passport and ongoing ticket which saved you having to go through the regular immigration lines.

However, when earlier this year I went through MEX changing from AA to AV, I had to go through the regular loooooong immigration line, clear customs, check in at AV and get a boarding pass and then re-enter security. Took about 2.5 hours which I don't have this time.

Marilyn: you said you clear customs at your final destination. How does the final destination know which passengers were transisting from another country or are just Mexican nationals whose flight began in MEX. Seems unlikely they would check every passenger on every inter-Mexico flight.

Now that I think about it, it seems that when after I cleared immigration in MEX to switch to AV earlier this year there was a hallway for passengers that were only traveling on to other Mexican destinations which may have rerouted them back into the terminal without having to clear customs and then security again.

I would like to avoid the immigration clearance from a time standpoint and based on what Mexicana told me this a.m. maybe that is still a possibility.
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Old Jul 6th, 2008, 08:52 AM
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As I recall, our bags had an orange tag put on at ORD, indicating the international origination, but as there was nobody to care at the end, it didn't seem that important.

I'm confused about them saying you didn't have to clear immigration. I remember always having to, but that it took a very short time. You say you went through customs, too, and out of security on a previous trip, which I'm surprised you had to do. On the other hand, maybe I'm misremembering, and the difference was that I was on Mexicana the whole way, even though changing flights.
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Old Jul 6th, 2008, 09:49 AM
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My memory is the same as marilyn1's. I have changed planes in MEX several times over the years. I don't usually check bags so can comment on that part.
However, I did have to do the immigration each time. As I recall, the international flights actually are in a different end of the terminal tahn the domestic.

raquel
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Old Jul 6th, 2008, 10:05 AM
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the reason I had to clear immigration and customs and re enter security earlier this year is because the ticket I had was a combo between AA & AV and they don't code share even though AA wrote the ticket. So, when I left the states I only had boarding passes as far as MEX which meant I had to clear their immigration and customs because I was having to go out to the main lobby to get another ongoing ticket to BOG on AV which is the same as ending my flight in MEX as far as they are concerned(I guess)

Had it been a real code share I am not sure what would have happened or if it would have been any different because in the U.S. if you fly for example: MEX-DFW-JFK you will still have to clear immig. and customs in DFW, re-clear security before going on to JFK so it seems like Mexico would require the same. The only difference I remember when flying DFW- MEX and proceeding on to GDL or OAX was that before they had a small immigration booth for the express purpose of quickly clearing transisting passengers on to other destinations in Mexico without having them go through the entire process.

However, in the U.S. you are immediately funneled through the immigration process on all incoming internation flights no matter where else you may be going. In MEX you get off the plane and pass past a lot of other gates and are in the main part of the boarding gates. Strange, but I guess I will just have to be prepared for anything.

Hopefully the Mexicana rep was correct that I don't have to worry about anything except going to my gate.
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Old Jul 6th, 2008, 10:08 AM
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Yes, but in the US you have to clear customs at your entry point. In Mexico, you do not. I don't THINK it has to do with a boarding pass, since you will remain inside securityand can get your boarding pass upon checking in at the next gate.
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Old Jul 6th, 2008, 10:11 AM
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As to how they know who is who... generally there is a separate line for Mexican nationals and foreign visitors at the immigration check points as you disembark planes.
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Old Jul 6th, 2008, 04:16 PM
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Well, now I am confused. I used the chat site on Mexicana you used, nonstop, and the guy said I couldn`t get a boarding pass in advance. I would have to get one when I arrive at Dallas, but I won`t have to go to the main ticket counter. I can just go to the gate I am leaving from and get it. I would rather have the boarding pass before I go!
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Old Jul 6th, 2008, 10:32 PM
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I am trying the Mexicana chat site again, nonstop, hoping I get another person, who will give me my reservation number, so that I can get a boarding pass on the intenet. If it wasn`t for you, I would have just given up, and taken the no boarding pass till I get there statment as truth. So thank you.
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Old Jul 7th, 2008, 03:19 AM
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Maryilyn:

That is exactly what I thought when I flew to MEX later this year and changed to AV. The AV gate was right next to the AA gate that I came into. They would not issue me a boarding pass there. I still had to clear immig. and customs and check into the AV counter in the main lobby to get my boarding pass for the flight to BOG. Then had to re-clear security. It was a real pain. I did not understand why I just couldn't get the boarding pass at the gate in MEX for my AV flight. Maybe it was just an AV non code share thing. Because if I had been flying Delta which does code share with AV then I think they would have issued me all boarding passes or have allowed me to get it at the gate

They explained to me that all passengers coming into MEX had to clear Mexican immigration and customs. I had only carry on so did not have to reclaim any bags. If I had checked luggage I am not sure I would have had to claim it because AV may have an "interline" arrangement just to transfer my bags over. If a person were entering the U.S. even if they were flying on to Europe I believe they would still have to claim all bags and re check even if they were taking a foreign airline from the U.S. to Europe after coming in from MEX.

I think you might be right in that I will have to clear immig and somehow will be able to avoid customs. I remember there were all sorts of different hallways to go down after clearing immig depending on where your continuing flight was going. But, the main immigration used to be able to be avoided for passngers like me. As I mentioned before, there used to be a small "immigration" checking booth in the main hallway where the departure gates are that was just used for the express purpose of the immigration check for on going Mexico passengers. Whether that is still the case or not, I will just have to find out.

Pat-Let us know what you find out. Seems on the code shares, AA would give us the boarding passes all the way through. Even if you still have to go to the Mexcicana gate in DFW that shouldn't be a big deal as long as you don't have to clear security. Keep us posted
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Old Jul 7th, 2008, 06:33 AM
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Immigration in Mexico is one thing, and Customs a separate thing, as it is in the US, but in the US, you ALWAYS DO have to clear customs at the first place you enter the country. This has NEVER been the case on my numerous trips to Mexico.
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Old Jul 7th, 2008, 02:56 PM
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Non Stop, I did use the chat room again, and again, they said no boarding pass until I get to Dallas. The reason is because it`s an international flight, not a domestic one. So I will just have to deal with it when I get to Dallas. Thank you anyway.
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Old Jul 7th, 2008, 05:31 PM
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Pat: I think it will be pretty easy at the gate to get your pass--its just a little extra nuisance. Atleast you know for sure now. I would go ahead and select my seats from the 1-800 # though just so you will have seats together.

Marilyn: I'll just hope I get routed back to my departure gate quickly if I have to go through the main immigration (long lines). If they still have the little kiosk there then I will count my blessings. Whatever happens, I will be sure and post my experience later. MEX has always been a little chaotic. I like the new designer shop area they have in there now. I am not sure how long it has been there but nobody was buying anything in there when I went through in May.
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Old Jul 8th, 2008, 09:47 PM
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When I flew to Mexico earlier this year I was directed by some staff to "turn right" and go to the main immigration area, even though I was connecting to Oax. But I could have walked further down the hall, not turning right towards the large immigration room, and gone to the smaller area set up for connecting flights (as I have done in the past).

Another idea would be to ask to be directed to the Mexicana help desk and go there before immigration. They know what you need to do and they speak English as well.

Also, when I was there waiting in the very long line (I was traveling with others and they were sure this was the way we had to do it...) I started asking officials how to get back to the gates without leaving the secure area. Only some knew. The answer was that you go back the way you came, do not exit to the luggage area.

I am sorry for my jumbled answer but the main point is that I would stay in the main hallway, with the gates on one side, until you see a glassed-in room. It is on the opposite side of the gates and close to a Mexicana help desk. Actually, there is an airport information booth in that area as well and that person also speaks English. In that room there has been an immigration officer for connecting flights. (Sometimes I have seen one at the other end of the terminal as well.)

I have not flown through DF in a few months and I can't guarantee it is still set up this way but I would try it first. The "big" customs line was well over an hour.


Hope you have a great time. Don't worry, it is easier than I made it sound.

Kathy
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Old Jul 9th, 2008, 05:09 PM
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AZKathy

thanks for the answer. It sounds like the small "kiosk-like" immigration area that I experienced a few years ago is still operational and the alternative to the long lines downstairs. I agree that a lot of people probably mistakenly go through the long lines when there is a short line option. We discovered it by accident a few years ago but not many people really seemed to know about it. I will invest the time to check it out as the preferable option. MEX can be a very confusing airport because of the different answers you get there. With longer layovers it gives you time to investigate more preferable options but with a short amt of time you have to take a gamble that you got the right info at the airport the first time.
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Old Jul 10th, 2008, 01:51 PM
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All the above seems very confusing and over the last 20 years I have had to do various things to pass through MEX. I am guessing your luggage goes strait through and that you do immigration in MEX. I would just ask. People have always been very helpful to me in MEX.
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Old Aug 10th, 2008, 05:57 PM
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Having just now made the trip I will tell you of my experiences in MEX.

Everyone HAS to go through the main immigration area downstairs at gate 25 when they land in MEX.

The little kiosk at gate 18 referred to earlier in this thread still exists but they will no longer allow anyone to pass through there like before if you have a connection to a Mexican national airline without first clearing immigration if you have landed from the states. You must go downstairs. This has been a change according to what they told me in the airport.

When we landed in MEX from DFW we went downstairs through immigration and fortunately this time we made it through in record time-probably 15 minutes. Since we had only carry-on we were routed back into the main terminal through a short cut but still had to reclear security. AA had issued our Mexicana boarding passes at the time of departure in the states. Had that not happened I think we would have had to go to the main counter in the lobby (or see below) because you have to have a boarding pass to re-enter security. That would have been a big pain.

On the return from TGZ, Mexicana could not issue our boarding passes in TGZ for the AA flight we we catching in Mex. City to DFW. We landed in Mex. City at gate 12 and tried to proceed through the little glass kiosk at gate 18 proceeding on to gate 30 and the guard at first would not let us through without a AA boarding pass. Another guard asked to see our printed ITN. finally they agreed to let us through after a lot of discussion but at first wanted to send us outside security to the AA counter to get our boarding pass.

I went on to the Admirals Club and got my AA boarding passes there. While there, the girls at the counter said if you don't have a boarding pass already for a connecting flight, you almost always have to go outside of security and stand in line at the counter. They strongly suggested to always have that connecting boarding pass when you land. They also told me if I had not at least had my printed ITN. they would not have let me through either. They also suggested that if you land in MEX from the states and are connecting on Mexicana without a boarding pass you would be best served going to the Mexicana service counter at Gate 19 (I think) and getting your boarding pass issued there....then backtrack and go downstairs at gate 25 to clear immigration. At least in that way you can avoid going to ticket counter in the main lobby.

They also suggested to try to avoid changing terminals from T1 to T2 if you can avoid it. They said it adds a lot of time to what you need to make a connection.

Bottom line: is everything is always changing in MEX and you get lots of conflicting info.....but thats for another post.

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