When booking flights within Mexico, you might fly Volaris…
Recently, we booked a last-minute flight from Leon/Guanajuato (in Central Mexico) to Cancun on the eastern coast. The only direct flight we found between the two cities was on Volaris.
Admittedly, I’m always a bit fearful of flying a new-to-me airline. But friends in Mexico reassured my husband and I that a flight on Volaris would be fine. Mexican nationals refer to the airline as the Jet Blue of Mexico: It’s a popular low-cost airline that makes flying more affordable because of its competitive pricing strategy.
No two flights on any airline offer the exact same experience, but here is some info about our experience that might help you know what to expect.
In operation for about seven years, the airline is the second largest airline in Mexico, after Aeromexico, and is growing rapidly. Volaris offers routes between 29 cities in Mexico, and flies internationally to six cities in California, and to Las Vegas, Denver and Chicago.
Paying for Extras
Similar to some U.S.-based airlines (Spirit Airlines being one notable example), passengers need to be vigilant about additional baggage fees, which can inflate the base price of a ticket considerably.
Baggage limitations only allowed us to check one under 33-pound suitcase for free. Since we had flown to Mexico from the U.S. on United Air Lines and had planned to stay a couple of weeks, we had packed so we wouldn’t exceed a 50-pound baggage limit.
In addition, Volaris permitted only the smallest carry-on because there is virtually no overhead storage space. Thus, we wound up purchasing an additional 44 pounds of checked baggage weight for each of us (22 or 44 extra pounds can be purchased per person) at an extra cost of about $49.
We made the extra baggage purchase online prior to our flight. It would have been less expensive if we had purchased the excess baggage allowance at the time the ticket was bought. If you only find out you have exceeded baggage limits at check-in, you will pay even more. In fact, it can be up to 90 percent cheaper to pay the surcharge in advance of your airport arrival.
Living Room (as its called in the trade)
We flew on an Airbus A319 regional jet, with two seats on each side of the aisle. Legroom and the pitch of the seats were reasonable. The flying experience was a bit livelier than usual because the plane was filled with families with children.
Flight Safety Instructions
A video with flight safety information instructions was offered in Spanish with English subtitles. All announcements made by the crew were in both Spanish and English.
Food and Service
Because our plane was small, there was only one flight attendant. Like most people we met in central Mexico, he was courteous and solicitous to passengers.
The onboard snack was a package of Sabritas, a Mexican brand of potato chips— perhaps high in salt but a nice indulgence for dieters at only 94 calories per pack. Tequila, beer and soda were free and the flight attendant offered two rounds of service.
Entertainment and Technology
There was nothing to speak of on board but Volaris has developed a free app for iPads, iPhones, and Android phones to help you book flights and track their status.
The flight was comfortable, took off and arrived on time. We would fly it again.
- For more information, including routes, see the Volaris website (which can be viewed in Spanish and English).
- An update on Volaris plans for expansion on Skift.
This is one of a series of posts about my experiences on new-to-me airlines. Surely, each flight is different but it’s always helpful to get general impressions of what to expect before you fly. If you fly Volaris and have a very different experience, please feel free to comment below.
SherylMarch 23, 2013 at 12:57 pm
You have a nice way of saying “The flight was filled with noisy, crying children that were really annoying!” like so many other people would have written 🙂
The flying experience was a bit livelier than usual because the plane was filled with families with children.
Irene S. LevineMarch 23, 2013 at 1:39 pm
It wasn’t a long flight and the kids were really happy! 🙂
Katie marquezMarch 28, 2018 at 7:07 pm
If you don’t like hearing kids crying then drive their instead. Or buy ear plugs.
Just One Boomer (Suzanne)March 24, 2013 at 5:59 am
How long was the flight? The flight attendant did two rounds of service on a short flight!? Were the kids really happy or do they just numb the grown-ups with free tequila? 😉
When we were in Mexico last year, we took several first class buses (Premier Plus) between cities and were quite favorably impressed. I think some people think of falling apart buses with goats and chickens along with the passengers when they think of public transportation in Mexico. I suppose you can still find those, but there seemed to be plenty of satisfactory options. Do you have any more posts about San Miguel de Allende in the hopper?
Irene S. LevineMarch 24, 2013 at 5:28 pm
The flight was about 2 1/2 hours. Surprisingly, no one abused the privilege of complimentary alcohol 🙂
I heard the buses are terrific, too. We met a man who splits his time between Florida and San Miguel de Allende, who always opts for the bus to and from the Mexico City airport.
Of course, I’ll be writing more about San Miguel de Allende. Stay tuned!
Chris JordanSeptember 3, 2018 at 5:20 pm
Your experience will be very good if you travel first time with Volaris airlines. I really enjoyed it. Such a nice services of this airlines
Cliff OliverJune 3, 2019 at 5:09 pm
My first time experience on Volaris was quite different:
I purchased a r/t ticket Mexico City to Huatulco on February 12, 2019 for $3,868 pesos. This was during the Semana Santa weekend so prices were much higher than normal. The flight time is approximately 1 hour.
Once I arrived to the airport and attempted to enter the security area to be checked with my carry on. I was stopped by a Volaris official that told me I needed to check my carry on bag. I went to the Volaris representative who proceeded to weigh my bag. It was 12.7 kilos (2.7 kilos over their arbitrary 10 kilo limit). My carry on bag EMPTY weighs 3.6 kilos. Volaris charged me $699 additional pesos. The Volaris rep said I should have paid for excess weight before the flight using the Volaris app.
When boarding the plane; I asked the flight attendant for a bottle of water – she proceeded to give me a cup of water from the airliner tanks. I’ve never seen water served to passengers from the tanks of the aircraft which are typically used for toilet flushing and washing hands. I only wanted the water to keep my mouth from drying out so that I would not start coughing (not pleasant for the passengers around me). I took a few sips, then thought I shouldn’t drink this water and stopped. The remaining water was poured into my empty water bottle for the duration of the flight.
The second night into my trip; I awoke with severe stomach cramps, fever, diarrhea and vomiting. I couldn’t think of what food/drink caused this stomach “bug” because I was with a party of 4 other people that ate and drank the same food/drink the previous days. I expected others to awake with the same condition – but, they were all fine. What did I do differently?
In order to save money, at the hotel, on vacation; I downloaded the Volaris app to check in and to pay for excess baggage charges. Their Volaris App did not allow me to pay for the baggage charge. I took a snap shot of the error message on my phone. I assumed that any rational human being would see that I attempted to pay for the additional baggage fees and honor those fees at the airport. I was WRONG!
Upon arrival for the 1 hour flight from HUX to MEX I showed the gate agent the error code from their app and requested that they honor the $399 charge that their app would not process. They REFUSED and said the charge now would be $1,000 pesos. I told them that I paid $699 in MEX and they asked for the receipt. I showed them the receipt and they agreed to charge me the same as in MEX. I was not happy and asked to speak to a supervisor.
I spoke with the airport supervisor named Juan Carlos (no last name given). He refused to honor the charge from the Volaris app and said that I would need to speak with Volaris customer service. This was 2 hours before the flight’s departure. I called customer service (Lucino Monteri) and explained the situation. I came up with a solution to have the customer service agent charge the $399 and add the excess baggage weight to my reservation. Lucino said he could not because the staff at the airport had already “checked me in” for the flight.
Luciano gave me another number to call. Before I could call that number – Juan Carlos (supervisor) threaten to CLOSE the flight if I did not pay for the baggage fees and that I would need to decide to leave my bag or stay behind with my bag or pay their $699 fee and board. I was forced to pay the fee and went thru security only to find that the plane taking us back to MEX had not even arrived!
I called the customer service number while waiting to board. I spoke with Catherine Romero. I explained the issue that I attempted to pay for the excess weight charges but that the app did not work. She gave me an email address to send the error code to her to review. She confirmed that I had NOT been checked in until those baggage charges had been paid. The first customer service rep I spoke with at Volaris told a me a lie about not being able to add the baggage to my reservation. We then were disconnected.
Later, I received a reply from the email I sent to Volaris stating: the problem was with MY credit card and not the Volaris app. That makes ZERO sense because Volaris had no issue charging that exact same card at both the MEX and HUT airports!
The next day I called customer service; after speaking to several agents; I finally spoke with Connie who offered me a $200 peso voucher for future flights on Volaris. I explained to Connie that because of their app not working it cost me $300 additional pesos and that would be the amount to make me whole! She refused. I declined the $200 peso voucher because I NEVER EVER WANT TO FLY ON THIS AIRLINE AGAIN.
BTW, checking into security HUX – security discovered a bottle of water in my bag from my flight from MEX. It then clicked – that the water served to me was the reason I got deathly ill 2 nights into my trip. On this leg of the flight – I again asked for water. Cost for bottled water $40 pesos ($5 pesos in the local bodega). I asked for a cup of “free” water. Again, the flight attendant brought a cup of water from the airline tanks. I sent it back!
Now that I’ve had a chance to think about it: Volaris probably fills their tanks with UNTREATED municipal water supplies in Mexico!!!!
Volaris is so cheap; maintains such a disregard for passengers’ health; and considers profit more important than anything dealing with passenger safety/health/welfare – NO ONE SHOULD EVER FLY VOLARIS!
Final cost for this trip: $5,266 pesos and 1 night/1 day being sick. Volaris RUINED my trip! Because these fees are arbitrarily and capriciously assessed to their passengers – you can NEVER TRUST Volaris!
Pay the initial extra dollars/pesos to fly a more reputable airline. Hola AeroMexico!!!