I’ve flown in and out of Mexico’s capitol several times and recently discovered that the Mexico City International Airport can be a gateway to the world. Always on the lookout for the easiest ways to fly, I’ve now joined other West Coast travelers who fly through Mexico City into Central and South America; others head to Europe, even Asia. It can be a swift, direct, and affordable way to travel internationally. Other savvy travelers know the nifty strategy to get to the Mexico City Airport – Use the Cross Border Express to connect to Mexico City International Airport through Tijuana.

Swift? West Coast fliers going to London, another major international hub, can fly through Mexico City to London LHR one a 10:40-hour flight. Need to stay overnight? Mexico City has a whole range of hotel options, most well below US east or west coast rates. Other European destinations on my sampling of Aeromexico flights include:

  • Amsterdam, Netherlands (AMS)
  • Madrid, Spain (MAD)
  • Paris, France (CDG)
  • Rome, Italy (FCO)

Direct? Yes, you can fly non-stop to Europe from Mexico City. Affordable? Indeed. A sample flight midweek from MEX to LHR booked six weeks in advance started at 667 dollars. I’m sure if you book 2-3 months ahead you’ll find better ticket prices. Flying from San Diego to London starts around $588 but increases to over $800 if you’d like to travel with more than ‘hand luggage.’

The CBX Advantage – US / Tijuana Airport Bridge

Savvy U.S. travelers traveling from San Diego can take a shuttle, or rideshare to the CBX bridge. What really makes life easier is the return strategy. CBX meets U.S. and international Security standards, with U.S. Customs and Border Protection within CBX facilities in the U.S. plus Mexican Immigration and Customs at Tijuana’s Airport. Services such as SENTRI, Global Entry, and I-94 services (A number system for international travelers visiting the US as proof of legal visitor status) are available for Northbound passengers.

I’ve written about CBX before and have excitedly watched the CBX terminal grow into a smooth travel option with new services and parking options. The lots offer long and short-term, and even a valet service. There’s a shuttle service between the San Diego Airport and CBX for most of the day. CBX has also set up a fleet of cars and drivers that rival any ride-sharing service in expediency and cost.

Los Angeles International Return Flights

Regular fliers into LAX from international airports expect long, re-entry lines and then long travel times to other Southern California destinations. It’s a slog to say the least and after a 10 or 17-hour flight, no one wants to tackle public transportation or drive for hours. Spending a night in a hotel always bloats the expenses too. Flying through Tijuana or the Mexico City International Airport can be a time saver.

Mexico City International Airport – Gateway to the World

Mexico City has a wide selection of direct flights going to the four corners of the planet, from the well-established Aeromexico to several budget airlines. The smaller airlines come and go. I always caution to watch for add-on costs which can evaporate the goal of saving money. Most are easy to book online.

Airport services in Mexico City also rival any I’ve seen in US airports. The Mexico City International Airport has a stunning International Terminal 2 with marble floors stretching through the airy passages complete with a wide variety of shopping and food courts. There are several airport lounges as well.

With a bit of preparation, when you arrive at the Mexico City airport from an international flight, you can expedite your entry process into Mexico if you meet the following requirements:

  • You are over 18 years of age.
  • You are a national of Mexico, Canada, United States, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, France, Spain, Italy or Germany.
  • You have a biometric passport.

Consider a stop-over in Mexico City

When you make Mexico City part of your travel itinerary you’ll explore one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities. It’s too often overlooked and in this time of over-tourism and tourist traps, a welcome alternative to other crowded destinations. Photo Aid surveyed over 1,200 American travelers about tourist traps. A visit to Mexico City avoids them all. Some of the reports findings include:

  • The top factors contributing to a place being labeled as a tourist trap are above-average pricing (30%), amenities tailored for tourists (28%), and lack of cultural authenticity (27%).
  • Nearly 70% of travelers felt their recent visit to a tourist trap diminished their trip enjoyment.
  • The top advice on how to avoid a tourist trap is to visit well-known landmarks without making them the main focus of your trip (16%).

Mexico City’s top sites include the Zocolo, stellar museums, and historical architecture. In the neighborhood of Coyocan, you’ll find the popular Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo’s family home. Tickets are required with timed entries. What I discovered while traveling through Mexico City is that locals far outnumber foreign visitors. It was wonderful to be embraced in an authentic experience, not just treated like a number with a wallet.