Flying itself is a pretty stressful and exhausting experiance for a lot of people. But a flight to Mexico over the ocean in the time of world pandemics is another level. It can be quite challenging even for an experienced traveler. How was our flight?
Our flight to Mexico in 2021
I wrote an article at the beginning of the year. It’s not translated yet, but the main points are:
- First: Summarization of our travel experiences in 2020
- Second: Explanation of the decision to fly to Mexico.
There was no room to describe our fun journey from Europe. I originally wanted to incorporate the story into a more informative article about a trip to Mexico in 2021, which I was planning to write. But in the end, I decided that our little story from the trip deserved its own URL.
Planning the journey and flight tickets purchase
When we finally decided (or rather the world decided for us – thank you, world!) that we would go to Mexico, it was time to arrange vaccinations (not Covid vaccination, unfortunately), PCR tests, and buy the tickets.
We didn’t have many options in January. You could fly to Mexico via Frankfurt, Paris, and Amsterdam. It was possible to buy a ticket with a transfer in the USA as well. The only problem was they wouldn’t let us in :D.
While choosing the flight ticket, these were our decisive criteria:
- No long transfers (sleeping at the airport is not our favorite thing to do)
- The least possible amount of transfers (fewer transfers = more eco-friendly flight)
- Getting to Mexico at a reasonable hour (strolling Mexican streets in the night is not our thing)
- Price (buying the flight ticket one week ahead doesn’t give you much space, but we still didn’t want to spend € 1000)
- Date (we were staying at Filip’s parents again; the sooner, the better)
In the end, we chose a flight on Sunday 24th of January 2021 from Prague with a transfer in Amsterdam. And that’s where the fun part starts.
Our flight to Mexico in the Covid times
The flight looked great. For the (un)pleasant price of ± € 500, we flew from Prague on Sunday afternoon. Most of the journey was in a big comfortable plane. And we were supposed to reach our final destination on Monday morning after 9 pm (thanks to the time difference).
No unreasonably long transfers awaited us. The longest time between flights was three hours at the beautiful airport in Amsterdam. The only thing that made us nervous was the time we had for immigration in Mexico City.
We arrived at the airport in Prague with extra time. We went to buy snacks, walked around the airport to kill time… And about 30 minutes before the end of the check-in of our luggage, we decided to drop it off and move to the gate.
Along the way, we took a quick photo and came to the counter.
And then it all got complicated…
Lady behind the counter: “Do you have passports?”
Us: “Yes, here.”
Lady behind the counter: “Do you have PCR tests?”
Us: “Yes, here.”
Lady behind the counter: “Do you have antigen tests?”
Long story short: You don’t need Covid tests to enter Mexico in 2021. Neither PCR nor antigen. However, a PCR test was required even for the transfer in the Netherlands. So we did the PCR test for € 80 back in Liberec.
Once you have the PCR test in hand, you just don’t think of checking to see if you need anything else. After all, the PCR test is the reliable one, why should anyone want something extra? Well, in the Netherlands, they decided they wanted to.
A new regulation came into force in the morning of our flight: in addition to the PCR test, you need an antigen test that is no more than four hours old before departure.
Fast testing at Vaclav Havel Airport in Prague
The lady behind the counter saw our frightened faces, directed us to the test center at the airport, and simply said, “Run, you have 30 minutes.”
So we ran. And reached a long line. There are not so many workers in the test center at the airport, so queues are easily formed. Fortunately, you can buy “Skip the line.” Or rather you have to in our case.
So we bought it. We waited a few minutes for the sampling, then for the results, and finally for them to print it. I was sick by the thought of not making it in time for the flight. Btw, the test was € 90. The normal price for an antigen test in Czechia is € 10…
Flight to Mexico: Happy end
Anyway, we made it. Fortunately, a young nurse who first advised us to buy the “skip the line” helped us and went to print the results to another office.
With heavy backpacks on our backs, we ran back to the check-in, where the lady tried to move the last call as much as she could. We ran with three more lucky people who made it and saw at least one who didn’t. When we got rid of the heavy backpacks, we resumed sprinting to the gate.
It was a good idea to fly in leggings and running shoes.
The good thing was that thanks to Covid not many flights were scheduled. The gate would be closed, of course. But they were waiting for us because of the information from the lady behind the counter. Dear Lady behind the counter, thank you very much again.
The last heart attack occurred when they wanted the fu*king tests from us to board the plane and we didn’t have them. We left them at the counter. But at that moment, a security guard was already running there with them, and we finally boarded the plane.
Transfers in Amsterdam and Mexico City
We got from Prague to Amsterdam by propeller plane. There we sat down close to the gate, and I tried to catch up with work. The transition was slightly longer than planned in the end.
We flew with Aero Mexico, and there was a problem with the plane. Probably something was wrong with the left phalange. In any case, the flight attendants were proactive, checking our connecting flights all the time. If we were late, they would supposedly solve it.
We’ve taken off with an hour or so delay. The journey was comfortable, the food not bad (quite nice vegetarian gnocchi), and we landed in Mexico City on time.
Immigration office in Mexico City
Before the flight, we had two questions:
- Are two hours enough for the immigration office in Mexico City?
- Do we need a return ticket to enter Mexico?
As for the immigration: we were advised to move as close as possible to the entrance before landing, get out quickly and run. The flight attendant told us it’s not necessary and to stay at our seats, though.
The plane was half-empty, so we got off very fast, and we were on immigration within a few minutes after landing.
The immigration officer looked at me, muttered something, wrote 180 days on the immigration card, stamped the passport, and sent me on.
Filip had to go through an “entrance interview.” His official asked why he was traveling to Mexico, how long he would stay here, what he would do, and also wanted a return ticket. Fortunately, in Amsterdam, just before boarding the plane, we bought the 24-hour ticket service for about $ 10.
Here’s the thing: in theory, enough money to stay in and leave Mexico on your bank account should be sufficient to enter. Originally, we had our account statements printed and believed they would either not ask us or take this. We didn’t want to throw $ 20 out the window.
After the fiasco at the Czech airport, we decided we simply no longer wanted to be stressed. Who knows, maybe it would work, maybe not. We already had to pay € 340 for the tests, few extra bucks are worth the peace of mind during the flight.
Victory: We are in Mexico!
We boarded the last plane, flew to Cancun, and could celebrate: the flight to Mexico is over. At the airport, we bought ADO bus tickets to Playa del Carmen and crossed the last kilometers. By the way, even after more than a quarter of a year, I don’t really believe I’m here.
Have fun and follow our adventures on Instagram for now. There I try to be a little more up to date. Hit me over there with a message whenever you need some advice.