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JuanCha

Jan 23, 2014, 8:36 AM

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Crossing at Tijuana & Mex air travel; recent experience

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Here are some personal observations and experiences crossing into Mexico at Tijuana and flying out of TIjuana airport:

Border crossing: San Diego CA traffic IN TO Tijuana now often backs up on the freeways (I5, I805 and Hwy 905) on the USA side for a mile or more causing delays of up to an hour or more. (Choose your crossing time carefully and check local San Diego traffic reports). Border crossing FROM Tijuana in to USA has long been problematic and slow (world's busiest land crossing; delays of 1-4 hours). Pedestrian foot traffic FROM Tijuana in to USA can now take 1-2+ hours, depending on time of day. There are two main border crossing points: San Ysidro and Otay Mesa.

Aduana/Customs. I had an unusual negative experience with Mexican Aduana at Otay Mesa crossing: it was 11pm and the Mex customs officials had little to do. Two young Mexican customs officials tried to bully and shake me down for bogus customs prohibitions; I had to spend over 30 minutes refusing to accede to a sizeable mordida and almost missed my flight at the Tijuana airport as a result. I simply refused to be conned into the bogus customs duties and they finally let me enter Mexico without confiscating the alleged items or paying their phoney duty fee. USA customs departing Mexico in to USA is ALWAYS slow due to very high amount of vehicle and pedestrian traffic; however there is an expedited crossing back in to USA for those with a USA Passport **Card** (NOT just the basic USA passport) or a Sentri pass, so look for the expedited lanes at USA Customs.

Shuttle transport to Tijuana airport from San Diego. The Greyhound/Crucero shuttle from San Diego to the Tijuana aiport has changed their departure point and methodology in San Diego. It used to be simple, direct and reliable; it is now complicated, slow and unreliable; the shuttle delays totaled almost 1+ hours late arrival at Tijuana airport (not including the above Mex aduana delay). While it is low cost (U$16) it is unreliable. Volaris and various other providers have shuttles between San Diego and Tijuana, but they also vary substantially in promptness, reliability, cost and convenience.

Tijuana airport. Flights within Mexico to/from Tijuana are MUCH cheaper than flights from nearby USA airports - often half or less of price of flights from USA. There are many attractive fares via Internet of phone to Mex airlines (e.g. Interjet, Aeromexico, Volaris, etc.). Domestic/within Mexico flights do NOT issue Mex immigration visas; one needs to find the Mex immigration desk at the airport (which is sometimes unattended) before passing airport security to flight departure gate. Caveat emptor: tack on an extra 1-2 hours beyond recommend pre-check-in times, as the delays at the Tijuana airport can be substantial.

Mexican airlines. I have found Interjet to be the BEST (attractive fares, more luggage allowance, good arrrival/departure track record, helpful agents and customer service). Volaris was previously good re customer service but frequently not so now; however, Volaris has some very attractive Internet fare deals; Volaris reduced luggage allowances and luggage overage fees can make those bargain fares quite expensive; Volaris now charges for ALL in-flight beverages and snacks. Aeromexico has VERY POOR customer service despite now offering more competive fares, thanks to pressure from newer competitors. Vivaaerobus is the WORST; they offer bargain basement come-on fares but charge for every little thing, resulting in less-than-competitive final costs; customer service at Vivaarerobus is a complete oxymoron and almost non-existent; they also have a terrible lost-luggage record and it can take weeks to finally get your luggage, if at all. Newer Mex airlines, especially Interjet and Volaris are rapidly expanding their Mexico and USA flight destinations and departures; check frequently for any that are of interest to you.

These are my subjective personal observations and opinions based on my own frequent travel experiences (I go to/from USA/Mexico a few times each year for the past 8 years, as well as many destinations within Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America and USA). I hope it helps guide you in your travel choices. I also travel frequently via bus within Mexico - but that is an additional completely separate subject.
JuanCha de: Santa Fe NM, San Cristobal de Las Casas Chiapas, San Diego CA

(This post was edited by JuanCha on Jan 23, 2014, 10:27 AM)



RickS


Jan 23, 2014, 10:46 AM

Post #2 of 20 (8603 views)

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Re: [JuanCha] Crossing at Tijuana & Mex air travel; recent experience

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Thanks for that detailed report, JuanCha.


skier14

Jan 26, 2014, 1:08 PM

Post #3 of 20 (8467 views)

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Re: [JuanCha] Crossing at Tijuana & Mex air travel; recent experience

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My most recent experience with Volaris was quite an adventure. Taking the airlines advice I purchased my ticket 90 days in advance (July). I always buy the extra baggage weight and flight change insurance for my return flight. I flew from GDL to LAX on October 11th. Due to unexpected medical problems during my bypass surgery check-up that brought me under the knife for cancerous tumors in one kidney and bladder, it was necessary to change my return flight 4 times. No problem changing the flight, but when arriving at LAX was in formed by Volaris agent that the 2 free checked bags was no longer allowed and the extra baggage(gifts for grandkids) would cost me $100. I tried to explain that even when I telephoned to change my return flight no one told me about the change in policy so I could have purchased the extra bag coverage for less. After a few more minutes of discussion I was in formed that the new policy took effect October 15th. four days after my flight to the US. Volaris has my email address and both US and Mexican telephone numbers and I am sure they new about their changes even before I left Mexico, but no calls. Needless to say Volaris is no longer my preferred airline.


JuanCha

Feb 2, 2014, 6:01 PM

Post #4 of 20 (8350 views)

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Re: [skier14] Crossing at Tijuana & Mex air travel; recent experience

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As one might conclude from my original post above, I too no longer find Volaris airline to be a desirable choice. My experience above with Volaris was a bad surprise; my previous positive experiences with Volaris were completely erased by Volaris' new methods and policies: expensive baggage, very poor customer service on phone (both Mex and USA) and at the check-in desk, many surprise charges and oppressive policy changes.

I almost missed my Volaris flight due to unusually and unnecessarily long check-in line (sloooow check in for all Volaris customer) and they did not announce or show that my flight would leave EARLY (?? early in Mexico - almost unheard of).

Even my maletero (sky cap) at TJ airport noticed and commented on how bad Volaris now is.

I'm not sure why the dramatic recent deterioration and decline at Volaris - they are now worse than AeroMexico who are lousy also - only Vivaaerobus is now worse than Volaris. I'll be flying Interjet whenever I can.
JuanCha de: Santa Fe NM, San Cristobal de Las Casas Chiapas, San Diego CA


playaboy

Feb 3, 2014, 7:14 AM

Post #5 of 20 (8312 views)

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Re: [JuanCha] Crossing at Tijuana & Mex air travel; recent experience

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I have flown into and out of TJ many times over the years. I am lucky to have friends pick me up at or take me to the San Ysidro or Otay Mesa crossings. I just walk across. I stop at Immigration and Aduana to take care of business, then grab a taxi to the airport. It has always been a quick and easy process.

Here is a tip if you have some heavy items or more than a suitcase you want to bring and don't want to pay the high $$$ airlines would charge. Right next to the OXXO at the airport is a shipping center. Inside is Estafeta, UPS, FedEx, and other companies. There also is an Aduana office for customs clearance (PAY). I have shipped boxes full of stuff home a lot cheaper than taking it on the plane. It arrives at my door in 3-4 days.


AlanMexicali


Feb 3, 2014, 7:36 AM

Post #6 of 20 (8307 views)

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Re: [JuanCha] Crossing at Tijuana & Mex air travel; recent experience

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As one might conclude from my original post above, I too no longer find Volaris airline to be a desirable choice. My experience above with Volaris was a bad surprise; my previous positive experiences with Volaris were completely erased by Volaris' new methods and policies: expensive baggage, very poor customer service on phone (both Mex and USA) and at the check-in desk, many surprise charges and oppressive policy changes.

I almost missed my Volaris flight due to unusually and unnecessarily long check-in line (sloooow check in for all Volaris customer) and they did not announce or show that my flight would leave EARLY (?? early in Mexico - almost unheard of).

Even my maletero (sky cap) at TJ airport noticed and commented on how bad Volaris now is.

I'm not sure why the dramatic recent deterioration and decline at Volaris - they are now worse than AeroMexico who are lousy also - only Vivaaerobus is now worse than Volaris. I'll be flying Interjet whenever I can.



We use Volaris exclusivly and just went to TJ 2 weeks ago and used their shuttle to SD. 90 minutes, easy and on time. When we came back this weekend the shuttle was there to pick us up at the Santa Fe station on time. 60 minutes later we were at the airport after crossing at San Ysidro and getting our luggage xrayed at the new SAT ADUANA building and INM checking our names on their computer. Volaris raised their baggage checkin limit from 15 kilos to 25 kilos recently, nice increase, and 7.5 kilos for each of 2 carryons.

Volaris doesnīt give you drinks and mini bags of snacks or a couple of cookies anymore but has a menu with 3 sandwiches to chose from and larger bag of chips, or a 1/2 dozen package of cookies etc. and drinks you buy now latley.

I can still get oneway tickets for as low as $900.00 pesos if I check their site regularly.

They also started a direct flight on Sundays from San Luis Potosi to TJ and back in Nov. and we no longer have to take a bus to Guadalajara and a taxi to and from the airport. Very nice of them.

We will continue to use Volaris and their $17.00 US per person one way shuttle.

Where else can you get a $70.00 US plane ticket one way from either San Luis Potosi or Guadalajara?


(This post was edited by AlanMexicali on Feb 3, 2014, 9:26 AM)


viktoremski


Feb 3, 2014, 11:34 AM

Post #7 of 20 (8265 views)

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Re: [AlanMexicali] Crossing at Tijuana & Mex air travel; recent experience

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Both times I had to buy Volaris tickets recently, I was unable to get them online with Internet Explorer on my computer. I called Volaris, and they confirmed their system does not support Internet Explorer anymore. I think you need to have Firefox installed. To buy tickets over the phone costs about $10 more.


citlali

Feb 3, 2014, 5:03 PM

Post #8 of 20 (8225 views)

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Re: [viktoremski] Crossing at Tijuana & Mex air travel; recent experience

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I use Volaris a lot nationaly and have yet to have a problem. It is a no frill airport but it is fine for me.i am pretty sure I bought the last ticket at OXXo or maybe that was Vivaaerobus. Check with OXXO


chinagringo


Feb 4, 2014, 6:28 AM

Post #9 of 20 (8181 views)

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Re: [JuanCha] Crossing at Tijuana & Mex air travel; recent experience

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We booked reservations on Volaris Dec 27th for R/T San Antonio - Guadalajara for this Saturday. I paid very close attention to the baggage policy published on their website. Today, I received an email announcement that their baggage policy had changed on Oct. 15th. This stated policy conflicts with their website info that still exists today. The so-called new policy limits your one checked bag to 44lb while the website states 55lb.

Any recent travelers who can confirm just what their policy is?
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



playaboy

Feb 4, 2014, 7:29 AM

Post #10 of 20 (8169 views)

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Re: [chinagringo] Crossing at Tijuana & Mex air travel; recent experience

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I would go with the 44lbs to be on the safe side.


AlanMexicali


Feb 4, 2014, 8:15 AM

Post #11 of 20 (8157 views)

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Re: [chinagringo] Crossing at Tijuana & Mex air travel; recent experience

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We booked reservations on Volaris Dec 27th for R/T San Antonio - Guadalajara for this Saturday. I paid very close attention to the baggage policy published on their website. Today, I received an email announcement that their baggage policy had changed on Oct. 15th. This stated policy conflicts with their website info that still exists today. The so-called new policy limits your one checked bag to 44lb while the website states 55lb.

Any recent travelers who can confirm just what their policy is?



We paid for our tickets online in the middle of Dec. and they sent us an e-mail including this:

"Mi tarifa incluye: 25 kg. en 1 pieza de equipaje documentado y 7 kg. en máximo 2 piezas de equipaje de mano."

Not the 7.5 kilos each carryon I thought it was that I quoted above in other my post., but 7 kilos for the total wieght of up to 2 carryons.

25 kilos is for the checked luggage but they put both of our suitcases on the scale and didnīt care what each weighed, it appears. 50 kilos for both maximum.

Also a few months ago we went to TJ and got a e-mail saying they had changed the 15 kilos checked luggage to 25 kilos as of Oct.

So in conclusion it appears it is now 25 kilos [55 lb.]. Alan


http://volaris.com/...recuentes/#equipajes


Click on "Equipajes" on their link which also states no charge for 25 kilos.


(This post was edited by AlanMexicali on Feb 4, 2014, 8:30 AM)


chinagringo


Feb 4, 2014, 8:30 AM

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Re: [AlanMexicali] Crossing at Tijuana & Mex air travel; recent experience

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After talking to customer service today, I have concluded they are one confused airline! The Spanish version of the email says 25kg while the English (Gringo?) version says 44lb. Customer service told me to ignore the email message. On the website, they make the following statement with no definition of weight for carry ons: "These are some examples of without charge Carry-on: backpacks, briefcase, laptop cases, purses, among others"
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



AlanMexicali


Feb 4, 2014, 8:35 AM

Post #13 of 20 (8145 views)

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Re: [chinagringo] Crossing at Tijuana & Mex air travel; recent experience

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After talking to customer service today, I have concluded they are one confused airline! The Spanish version of the email says 25kg while the English (Gringo?) version says 44lb. Customer service told me to ignore the email message. On the website, they make the following statement with no definition of weight for carry ons: "These are some examples of without charge Carry-on: backpacks, briefcase, laptop cases, purses, among others"


Thatīs why I usually stay in the Spanish side of any website, SAT ADUANA and SEGOB IMN. It is very good practice. I have had all my cell phones, TVīs, my laptop, etc. in Spanish since 2006. Spell check, Hotmail, Google Mx. and Facebook also. It really helps me. I am here for good.


(This post was edited by AlanMexicali on Feb 4, 2014, 9:08 AM)


chinagringo


Feb 4, 2014, 6:56 PM

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Re: [AlanMexicali] Crossing at Tijuana & Mex air travel; recent experience

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Alan: It is all well and good to point out that you rely on the Spanish side of the websites. However, some of us that actually do contribute to the economies of various Mexican States are quite limited in our opportunities to use the limited Spanish we might have learned/ Sure, we live in New Mexico but Spanish here is a far cry from that which is spoken in Mexico!
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



JuanCha

Feb 9, 2014, 7:48 PM

Post #15 of 20 (7967 views)

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Re: [AlanMexicali] Crossing at Tijuana & Mex air travel; recent experience

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My remarks re Volaris (cutomer non-service, etc) - and perhaps those of ChinaGringo also - reflect my recent experiences with Volaris: Internet, telephone (both languages - I speak and understand both well), and face-to-face (in Spanish).

Volaris telephone service in both languages is poor (more-than-poor in English - as they hire DF youngsters that have lousy English speaking and understanding).

All this to say: sorry that Volaris has deterioriated so much recently.
JuanCha de: Santa Fe NM, San Cristobal de Las Casas Chiapas, San Diego CA


JuanCha

Feb 14, 2014, 7:38 AM

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Re: [playaboy] Crossing at Tijuana & Mex air travel; recent experience

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"...just walk across..." at either Otay or San Ysidro can now take up to 1-2+ hours at peak hours.

BUT there IS a "Ready Lane" for pedestrians who have either a SENTRI card OR a USA Passport CARD (not just the passport booklet), which is much faster - you have to look for that Ready Lane, though, and bypass the really-long normal pedestrian lines.

There are also bogus transport vans sometimes lined up at the border crossing that charge about U$5-$10 to hop aboard at the border, and get in the shorter van/bus vehicle lane to clear USA Customs. That can take "only" 20-60 minutes to get across - maybe worth it if there is a 2+ hour pedestrian line.

I too have people pick me up on the USA side when crossing from TJ.

(Thanks for info re ground shipping at TJ airport. I've used MultiPak (now FedEx) and Estafeta before.)
JuanCha de: Santa Fe NM, San Cristobal de Las Casas Chiapas, San Diego CA

(This post was edited by JuanCha on Feb 14, 2014, 7:40 AM)


playaboy

Feb 14, 2014, 8:13 AM

Post #17 of 20 (7837 views)

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Re: [JuanCha] Crossing at Tijuana & Mex air travel; recent experience

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The "just walk across" meant going South. Going North there is almost always a line.

I have paid the vans to move me along when the line is a 1/2 mile long. Some times it pays to have a seat instead of standing. Just make sure it is almost full or you wait until it fills up.


chinagringo


Feb 15, 2014, 6:34 AM

Post #18 of 20 (7792 views)

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Re: [JuanCha] Crossing at Tijuana & Mex air travel; recent experience

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A week ago, we took the relatively new Volaris service from San Antonio. What a difference a year makes when downgrading an airlines! The only plus we can give them was the check in process at the main counter. Four people behind the counter and three out front trying to act busy by checking paperwork and applying luggage tags. Having heard that they were strict about the 15.4lb carry on policy, we made sure we were in compliance but they didn't bother to weigh these bags. At the gate, there were 6 agents trying to appear busy and it was still a bit chaotic. Last trip, they bragged about free drinks and now they charge for everything. This missed an opportunity by not charging for ice cubes and glasses.

All in all, Volaris has gone way down hill and we will probably be looking at Interjet for future trips.
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



RickS


Feb 15, 2014, 9:37 AM

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Re: [chinagringo] Crossing at Tijuana & Mex air travel; recent experience

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Neil, does Interjet fly into the US "in your vacinity"?


chinagringo


Feb 16, 2014, 7:01 AM

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Re: [RickS] Crossing at Tijuana & Mex air travel; recent experience

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Rick:

Our current current Interjet option for us is Orange County, CA since we prefer to fly directly into Guadalajara. We usually carry enough Southwest Rapid Rewards Points for $10 R/T tickets. It looks like Interjet is interested in expanding their market into the US and I am guessing that they will be adding additional service. One of the big pluses is their 110lb baggage allowance!
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM

 
 
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