Interjet SSJ Economy
Overall rating: * * * * *
Interjet is one of Mexico’s largest airlines, operating an extensive domestic network, as well as international flights to the USA, Peru, Guatemala, Cuba, Costa Rica, and Colombia.
Formed in 2005, the airline operates a modern fleet of Airbus A320 and Sukhoi Superjet 100s, and is currently in the process of adding Airbus A321s.
The airline became the first western operators of the Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100, and has reportedly been delighted with the dispatch reliability of the type.
While considered a low cost airline, Interjet offers a high standard of onboard comfort, with lower seating density in its aircraft and seat pitch of 34”. Checked baggage, seat assignment, and onboard beverages and snacks are included when purchasing a ticket. Interjet is considered by many (this writer included) to be Mexico’s best airline.
I traveled from Mérida to Havana on 4O 4920, onboard aircraft XA-BMO, a Sukhoi Superjet 100. As on all Interjet flights, only economy class seating is offered.
Since no SSJ aircraft fly from Mexico City to Mérida (all flights on that route are A320 operated), the aircraft for the flight performs an interesting Monterrey – Havana – Merida – Havana – Monterrey routing on the two days per week when the service is offered.
Booking / Pre-departure
I booked my flight online, almost six months in advance, when the new service was first announced, for the bargain price of 2999 pesos / about US$160 at current exchange rates (for the round trip Merida – Havana – Merida). Interjet’s easy to navigate website is available in Spanish and English, with prices being displayed in Mexican pesos or US dollars as desired. The price included advance seat assignment.
Being an international flight requiring document verification (a Cuban visa must be purchased at check-in if not already held), online check-in was not offered for this route.
Check-in and security / Lounge access
All Interjet fares include at least 2 x 25 kg checked bags.
Carry-on baggage allowance: 1 standard carry-on, maximum 10 kg.
Check-in at Merida airport is in the main (only) check-in area; I arrived 2 hours before departure and found no line at the check-in desk. I was quickly issued my boarding card, and paid 250 pesos for my Cuban visa.
Security was quick, as normal at airports in Mexico, with no line as is generally the case in Mérida.
Interjet does not offer any lounge access; since I had plenty of time before boarding, I used Priority Pass to access the Caral VIP Lounge (located pre-security). After clearing security, a ‘departure’ immigration check is performed by Mexican immigration officials at a designated desk, with a stamp placed on the boarding card to indicate immigration has been passed.
Boarding and departure
Boarding was by group, using a jet bridge, and was quick and well organized.
The aircraft was about two-thirds full, and there were no issues finding space for carry-on luggage in the generously sized overhead bins. Boarding had begun well before scheduled departure time, and with all passengers onboard, we left the gate well ahead of schedule.
A recorded video safety demonstration was played, in Spanish and English. All onboard announcements were made in both languages, including the pilot’s welcome.
After a short taxi, the aircraft performed a very powerful takeoff.
Seat / Cabin design
Interjet purposefully installs less seats in their aircraft; in the case of the SSJ, they have only 93 seats, rather than the maximum of 108 which the type can hold, with a generous 34” pitch throughout the cabin, and a 2 – 3 seat layout. The leather covered seats were comfortable, and with the excellent legroom, made for a pleasant journey.
Overall the cabin was bright and new; relaxing colors and clean lines provided a calming atmosphere.
Food and beverage
Interjet offers a complimentary bar service on all flights including Mexican beers, liquors, and soft drinks, as well as a choice of Doritos, Ruffles, or Sabritas crisps.
Entertainment and service
Dropdown screens every few rows show innocuous programming and a moving map. A camera mounted under the fuselage provides take-off and landing views. A high quality in flight magazine (Spanish only) is provided.
Crewmembers were smiling and helpful.
Arrival and baggage delivery
After a short flight, we landed in Havana and arrived at the gate around 40 minutes ahead of schedule. Cuban immigration was fast, and since I had no checked baggage, I was out of the airport within around 10 minutes of the arrival at the gate, and some 30 minutes before the scheduled arrival time.
Interjet remains Mexico’s best airline in my opinion, providing excellent service and comfort at a reasonable price. The addition of the Mérida – Havana route, operated on Thursday and Sunday, means a weekend trip to the Cuban capital is now an easy option for people in Yucatán.
Route: Mérida - Havana
Cabin Class: Economy
Flight #: 4O 4920
Airline: Interjet Aircraft Type: Sukhoi Superjet 100
Seat #: 12C
SERVICE * * * * *
MEALS * * * *
SEATING * * * * *
VALUE * * * * *
OVERALL * * * * *
Excellent service and comfort for a reasonable price.
Free onboard bar and snacks on all routes.
Opportunity to fly on an unusual aircraft on SSJ operated routes.
“Ladies only” toilet, while doubtless great for the ladies, who are also allowed to use the other unisex toilets, reduces toilet access for men. Since men in many cases make up the large majority of passengers, on an aircraft with only 2 toilets this can create unnecessary queues, and is not as customer-friendly as it at first appears.
Stewart Mandy traveled on Interjet at his own expense.
Article written: October, 2016