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Mexico City Airport: Everything You Need to Know

Mexico City Airport: Everything You Need to Know

Arriving at the Mexico City airport can seem stressful at first, but this guide should help put your mind at ease. 

I’ll help you figure out everything from the moment you land until the moment you walk out the door and into your Uber or Taxi and then when you need to come back and do the trip in reverse.

Terminals at Mexico City Airport

There are two terminals at the Mexico City airport simply named Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.

The majority of flights, both international and domestic, fly into and out of Terminal 1. 

The only airlines that fly from Terminal 2 are AeroMexico, AeroMar, Copa Airlines, and Delta. Some Singapore Airlines land into and fly out of Terminal 2, but it is always best to check your ticket before arriving at the airport.

Terminal 1 is much larger. At one point, it was the largest airport terminal in the Americas.

If you are flying into our out of terminal 1, be sure to give yourself at least an hour to check your bags and get through security. If you are traveling at peak times like Christmas or summer holidays, expect it to take longer.

If you are flying with any Mexican airlines, you may want to read my article about the best Mexican airlines. I explain a little bit about why I love (or loathe) each of the popular Mexican airlines.

moving abroad checklist

Getting Between the Two Terminals

Getting between the two terminals can be a little bit confusing. 

There is a free sky shuttle which you can find on the second floor of Terminal 1, next to the entrance to the hotel, Camino Real.

In Terminal 2, the sky shuttle is located near Gate M. 

The shuttle is really only for people who are transferring flights, so if you landed in Terminal 2 and you have a connecting flight in Terminal 1 or vice versa. You will need to show your boarding pass for the next flight in order to get onto the shuttle, but it is completely free.

The shuttle runs every 5 minutes and takes less than ten minutes to get between each terminal.

The alternative way to get between the terminals is the shuttle bus that is outside of each of the terminals. In Terminal 1, you’ll find the shuttle bus outside Puerta 6 and in Terminal 2, outside Puerta 4. These tickets will cost you about $1 USD (you’ll need to pay in Pesos).

on an airplane

Arriving in a new country for the first time can be a little bit intimidating, but arriving at Mexico City airport is very simple.

Arriving in Domestics

If you have already gone through immigration in a different airport like Tijuana, Cancun, or Puerto Vallarta, then you will of course, not have to go through it again.

If you land in domestic in Mexico City airport, you simply collect your luggage and come out into the main area of the terminal.

In this area of the terminal, you’ll find taxi stands where you can pre-pay for your trip. There is also a Starbucks, a few fast-food restaurants, ATMs, as well as money exchanges.

Arriving in Internationals in Mexico City Airport

If you are arriving from a foreign country and Mexico City airport is your first port of call into the country, then you will need to go through immigration.

On the airplane, before you land, you will receive a green, red and white form that you need to fill out (be sure to bring a pen on the airplane with you!).

The form has two parts and asks simple questions such as your name, date of birth, passport number, and the address of your hotel. Be sure to write this down or take a screenshot of the address on your phone so that you don’t have to scramble for it after you land.

Don’t worry if you didn’t get a form on the plane. Some airlines no longer give them out (especially those coming from Europe). You can get one when you get to immigration.

When you exit the plane you will first go to immigration. You will give your passport and the form that you filled out on the airplane to the immigration officer. 

When they stamp your passport, they will tear off the bottom half of the form and put it inside your passport. 

Be sure to keep this piece of paper. You will need to hand it over to the airline when you leave the country. If you lose this piece of paper, you will need to pay quite a large fee and explain to the immigration officers back at the airport why you lost it.

Once you go through immigration, you will come straight out to the luggage area where you will wait for your bags. Once you have your bags, you may or may not be filtered into the customs area.

This is happening less and less in the Mexico City airport. While it is still popular at land border crossings and places like Cancun airport, you will likely only be asked for a second check if you are traveling from somewhere in South America or Asia. 

looking out of the airport window at sunset

How to Log Into the Free Wi-Fi

If you want to get onto the Wi-Fi while you are at the Mexico City airport, there is a free Wi-Fi available. 

Look for the Infinitum Wifi that has no password needed. When you click to log onto this, it will open up a page where you (of course), have to give them your email address.

Once you enter in your email address, you will get about 10 minutes of free Wi-Fi. So if you plan to use this Wi-Fi to get yourself an Uber, I highly recommend waiting to connect until you get out of customs and near the exit of the airport.

Transportation into Mexico City From the Airport

There are three main ways to get from Mexico City airport into the downtown area.

The cheapest way is to take the metro. You will have to make your way to Terminal 1, and then follow signs to the metro. The station is called Terminal Aerea and is on the yellow line.

I have a whole blog post about the Mexico City Metro which walks you through how to get to your desired stop. It costs 5 Pesos no matter the distance (about 25 cents).

If you have a large suitcase, however, this will not be a great option for you.

My preferred method of getting home from the airport in Mexico City is to order an Uber. Uber is much cheaper than taxis. 

While you may have heard about problems with Uber in other parts of Mexico, there is no problem with Uber in Mexico City.

When you order the Uber, it will know you’re at the airport and will ask you to choose which door (puerta) that you want the driver to meet you.

Ubers from the airport to Roma or Condesa cost about 100 Pesos ($5 USD) and take about 20 minutes.

The third option for getting into the downtown are is to take an airport taxi. If you can’t get onto the Wi-Fi for some reason, you can head to one of the desks inside the main terminal that says TAXI on it. There you will pre-pay for a taxi.

It costs about 200-300 Pesos ($10-15 USD) and takes about 20 minutes.

the check in desks at an airport

Give yourself plenty of time to check in at the Mexico City airport if you are flying to the US or Canada.

Flying Out of Mexico City Airport

If you are flying out of Mexico City then do your best to check in online. If you can check in through the airline’s app or through their website, this will save you a lot of time at the airport.

The problems with wait time at Mexico City airport tend to be when you have to go to the desk to check in or drop your bags. This can take a very long time.

Once you’ve done that, security is actually quite efficient. I often get through security in both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 in less than 10 minutes. If it’s really busy it can take up to 20 minutes and that’s during peak Christmas travel.

That really only applies to Terminal 1, though. Terminal 2 is much smaller and much more efficient. I regularly show up for international flights from terminal 2 with less than two hours before my flight.

Flying with Delta or AeroMexico is very efficient. You usually check in at the machine and then head over to the bag drop which takes no time at all.

how to avoid jet lag

What’s Inside Terminal 1?

Terminal 1 in enormous. If you are flying internationally, you’ll find a few places to eat and drink inside the terminal.

The international area of Terminal 1 has two sides. When you come in, you can walk to the right and you’ll find a Starbucks, a Maison Kaiser, and a lot of duty-free shopping.

If you head straight (sort of to the left) when you come out of security, you’ll go down a long corridor and then come out into an area with seating and more shops. There are a few more restaurants in this part.

Unless you simply want to buy a few snacks, I wouldn’t recommend eating a meal at the airport. You’re better off having something in the city before you arrive at the airport and then just getting a bottle of water.

The domestic side of Terminal 1 is actually quite good in my opinion. There’s a 7-11 where you can buy normal-priced snacks. There’s a Starbucks, a sandwich shop (with tasty and affordable sandwiches), a Pizza hut, a Burger King, and a place called Taba Sports Bar where you can have a beer before your flight.

how to avoid jet lag

What’s Inside Terminal 2?

I prefer the food and drink options inside Terminal 2. 

Once you are through security, there is one long corridor and two shorter corridors where the gates are.

Inside the main corridor, you’ll find a Taba Sports bar which is good option if you are there for breakfast. They make delicious chilaquiles and other egg dishes for a pretty reasonable price and offer free coffee refills.

Besides Taba, there is also a Starbucks, a Subway, and a 7-11. 

Down the other two corridors, you’ll find sit-down restaurants like Maison Kaiser and a healthy salad bar style place. The areas around the gates are also where you’ll find the duty-free shops.

boutique hotels in mexico city

Mexico City Airport Hotels

If you have a really early flight or are arriving to the Mexico City airport late at night, there are a few options for Mexico City airport hotels that you may want to consider.

The Camino Real is incredibly convenient. The hotel itself is quite luxurious for the price. The rooms are spacious and comfortable and it includes breakfast. 

There is also a spa and gym if you want to relax after your flight or fit in a workout before your flight.

The hotel is literally attached to the airport, so you can simply walk upstairs in Terminal 1 and then you’ll see the entrance to the hotel. There is a little walkway bridge over the road that leads you to the lobby of the hotel.

Rooms at the Camino Real start at $150 USD per night. Book a stay at Camino Real Airport Hotel here.

The Hilton Mexico City airport is slightly more affordable than the Camino Real. It is also located inside Terminal 1, go up to level 3 near gate 8 to find the lobby. 

The Hilton has a restaurant inside so you don’t have to worry about finding a place to eat inside the airport or bother getting in an Uber to go somewhere. 

Rooms at the Hiltons start at $130 USD per night. Book a stay at the Hilton Mexico City Airport hotel here.

The third option is the most affordable option, Izzzleep Aeropuerto hotel has options in both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. This is basically a Japanese-style capsule hotel where you get a bed in a room filled with other capsule beds. There’s much more privacy than in a hostel dorm room. 

A single bed starts at $40 USD per night. Book a stay at Izzzleep Aeropuerto Terminal 1 here or Izzzsleep Aeropuerto Terminal 2 here.

Chuck

Saturday 14th of May 2022

Hi! Connecting from terminal 2 (domestic AeroMexico) to terminal 1 (international Air Canada), already checked in with boarding pass, no checked bags, do I need to clear security again? Thanks!

Laura Bronner

Tuesday 17th of May 2022

They are in totally separate buildings. You'll have to leave terminal 1 and take the sky train to terminal two and then go through security again.

Von

Sunday 3rd of April 2022

Hello Laura. My sister and I (early 60) flying to Durango Mx with stop in Mexico City. My sister assures me we will only be permitted in a certain "quarantine " while we wait for flight. Can you help me feel a bit more relaxed about flying to Mexico City. My brother who lives in Durango says not to. What'd your opinion?

Thank you.

Laura Bronner

Monday 4th of April 2022

Hi Von, There are no quarantine requirements when arriving in Mexico. In fact, there have never been any quarantine requirements when traveling to Mexico even at the height of the pandemic there. You will be able to leave the airport once arriving in Mexico City and explore as you wish unless your connection is immediate in which case you will simply go through the airport just as you would any other airport when you have a connecting flight. You will have to go through immigration in Mexico City and then go back through security to get to your Durango flight. Just check that you have enough time between your flights to do this. I recommend at least a two hour layover at Mexico City airport. Safe travels!

Tomas

Friday 18th of March 2022

Hi there, apologies for asking similar question, but I've looked everywhere and can't find any good advice.

We're flying ZIH to BOG via MEX.

We were on Volaris 3:07pm-4:34pm (does it really take this long to go 400km?), and Viva Aerobus 7:10pm-11:50pm. However Viva cancelled their flight.

Only option to save hotel booking is Aeromexico from MEX-BOG at 6:40pm, no other flights until 11pm.

Question is: is 2:06 enough time to transfer from Volaris flight in T1, collect baggage, take shuttle, check in at T2 for Aeromexico? I assume the cut off is 1 hour to drop checked bag. So it is obviously cutting it very close. I assume there will be exit immigration in T2 after check-in?

Unfortunately the only other option is to forfeit the Volaris flight fare and fly earlier from Zihua, I guess.

Thank you :)

Tomas

Monday 21st of March 2022

@Laura Bronner, Thanks for the reply :) So you happen to know for sure when the baggage drop for international closes? It says you should show up "at least 90 minutes before", but doesnt actually say when the baggage drop closes. Most airlines in other countries close 1 hour before, but I don't see a conclusive answer on Aeromexico's site.

Thanks again!

Laura Bronner

Monday 21st of March 2022

I think that would be cutting it quite close. I personally wouldn't do it as transferring between the two terminals is a bit of a pain. There is a tram that runs between the two and it's ok. There is no exit immigration in Mexico. You will give your FMM paper to the airline at check-in or as you board the flight. It could be possible IF your Vlaris flight lands on-time or a bit early, but if it's late even by 20 minutes, you'd be hard-pressed to get to the next gate in time.

John Miller

Wednesday 9th of March 2022

Hello, We (4 passengers) are flying in to Mexico City Intl Airport Terminal 2. What door should we go to for an Uber pickup?

John Miller

Thursday 10th of March 2022

@Laura Bronner,

Thanks so much. Love your take on Mexico City. I have ordered your book from Amazon which will arrive Sunday , March 13, 4 days before we leave. I lived in Mexico City from 1957 (10 years old) till 1960 when went away for boarding school and went back to work for a couple of years after college. Now living in El Paso, Texas so occasionally catch an Aeromexico flight out of Juarez. After catching a few of your articles on the web, I know your book will bring new and wonderful adventures. My wife will still insist on Bazar Sabado and lunch at San Angel Inn.

Laura Bronner

Thursday 10th of March 2022

When you open the Uber app to order an Uber, it will know you are at the airport and you will get to select which door to get picked up at. Terminal two arrivals is very small so you will easily be able to find your Uber no matter which door you choose (they all lead out to a small u-shaped pickup zone).

Kelly

Friday 4th of March 2022

Hi, I hope you can help. My young adult daughter needs to fly alone with carry-on only PXM-MEX, arriving 10:50pm and departing MEX-JFK at 7am the next day (Thurs/Fri timeframe). VivaAerobus Terminal 1. Does she clear customs at MEX prior to departing for JFK or just security? Does she need to go thru security between domestic & international flight. Trying to arrange a safe place to get the most sleep/rest because she has a big meeting on Friday. I thought she had be at the airport 3 hrs in advance, so it made sense to find a lounge in Terminal 1. Now I read that she may not be allowed in the International area prior to 3 hrs. So confused. Any advice would be a lifesaver - thanks!

kelly

Saturday 5th of March 2022

@Laura, Wow, thank you for the quick reply! I clicked on your link and booked Hilton prior to reading your post, coffee maker in room & 24 hour bar, they say its 3rd floor terminal 1, right at the airport terminal she is flying from. Is that true or should I book it at Camino. You are awesome! and, still advise 3 hrs in advance? even for a 7am flight? couldn't find what time security opens for international flights - your advice is a lifesaver and so happy as a worried mom trying to keep my daughter safe and make that early morning flight!

Laura

Friday 4th of March 2022

Hi Kelly, there are several hotels located very close to the airport. Camino Real actually has an entrance right from Terminal 1 and checkin is almost around the clock, so she could stay there and then head back to the terminal first thing in the morning. If she is flying only carry-on with Viva Aerobus, she can check in on her phone and get her boarding pass I assume (unless she has to show covid stuff prior to boarding, I'm not sure how that's being sorted out at the moment?). Otherwise, she can go straight through security with her carry-on luggage and won't need much time at all. There are no customs on this side if she is flying internally in Mexico, only once she arrives in JFK.