Browsing Posts tagged Aeromexico

 

Editor’s Note August 29 – The weekend after I posted this, Mexicana officially declared themselves dead and they have canceled all flights.

Living in Mexico as I am right now, I’m particularly interested in how this Mexicana Airlines train wreck will play out. Ever since they declared bankruptcy it’s been a complete nightmare for customers who had bookings, some of whom I know personally. As this excellent Smarter Travel blog post says, Mexicana has basically been holding customers’ money hostage, refusing to cancel flights but also refusing to honor the flights or transfer the customers to another airline either. So all that cash is in limbo.

There are some odd twists to this story, one being that their budget arm Click is still flying, apparently because it’s financed as a separate company. An investor group just coughed up $50 million to supposedly give the company a lifeline for 100 days. Will it be enough?

In a country with only two major airlines and a few budget ones that just fly a few routes from oddball hubs (Toluca, Monterey, Tijuana), Mexicana’s implosion is messing up a lot of vacation and business plans.

When flights go back on sale they’ll probably be heavily discounted, but my advice would be to avoid this airline like it’s a drug smuggler with swine flu. There’s a very real chance you’ll never see your money again after you buy a ticket and you won’t fly either. Even with the cash, they’ve got to convince people to keep working for them and flying the planes despite a hazy future. Go to Vegas instead and at least you’ll get free drinks if you lose everything.

But hey, the Mexican buses still rock.

I get quoted a fair bit in the media as a bargain travel expert, but I’m always excited when it happens in a magazine I actually subscribe to by choice. That happened this month when I was quoted in the money magazine Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. There’s a whole series of pieces on traveling better and smarter and I’m in the part called Where the Wild Deals Are. Things aren’t as pretty on the web as they are in print, but just scroll down and you’ll find it. Read the whole thing though, as it’s full of excellent contrarian travel advice.

My part is about two things that are near and dear to my heart: avoiding the crappy legacy U.S. airlines when leaving the country and taking advantage of the budget ones in other countries to hop between cities regionally. I fly Continental more than I would like to go to Latin America (at least I can check a bag for free because of having a Chase Continental credit card), but I’d rather be on Copa or Aeromexico when there’s a choice. And if you’re in Florida you’re crazy not to take advantage of the sweet deals on Spirit.

As far as getting to where you’re going internationally, it makes a lot of sense to find the cheapest flight you can to the general region and then take a local budget airline from there. My friend just did that on a trip to Romania and Italy, getting what he could on Delta with mileage to get to the continent, then taking Wizz Air to shuttle around Europe. You can do the same in Southeast Asia with a whole long list of airlines.

Try Vayama.com to figure out who serves long-haul international routes, including foreign carriers, and WhichBudget.com for the shorter hops.

For simpler affairs, compare prices from all the big booking engines with this cheapest flights tool.



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