Sheila flying from George Bush to Cancun
Hi I just returned from a weekend trip to Cancun using Vivaaerobus. We booked to leave Houston on Friday 1/30 and return to Houston on Monday 2/2. I purchased the VIP boarding and Viva Express options as well as the Viva Secure(insurance). Since this airline is new to the Houston market and there are quite a few questions I thought I'd provide this review.
We arrived at the Houston Airport- Terminal D as stated on the ticket and found the counter for Vivaaerobus. There was a line of about 5 people with one agent checking in guests. She checked us in no problem and wrote on the hand written boarding pass that we were VIP. We arrived at the gate and waited for the gate agents to show up which they did about 20 minutes before departure time. There were 4 signs set up in front of the gate desk for boarding: VIP/1/2/3/4. We were third in line to stand in the VIP line and walked onto the plane and picked out our seat in the first row. There are 3 seats on each side of the aisle. The overhead space for rows 1 & 2 are blocked by the Airline stuff so you have to put your carry on above Row 3. Everyone took their seats and they gave their safety talk and we took off on time. They had a drink/snack menu that you could order from and pay cash, Pesos or USD. Mexican beer & bottled water was $2.00. They had run out of the kind we wanted by the time they reached row 1 but at least they had something to offer. We landed on time and instead of walking into the terminal via a skybridge, they rolled up the stairs to the door and we got off and into a waiting bus that took us to the terminal to go thru immigration. The forms were provided on the plane to complete. Don't forget to fill out all sections as those that didn't were told at Immigration desk to go and stand at a counter to fill out the 4 lines that they missed while the officer took the next passenger. All in all the flight was comfortable, flight attendants were nice and understood English (I don't speak Spanish), and the seats were comfortable. The plane had about 65 passengers so people ended up spreading out as the plane was 1/2 empty.
Our Shuttle driver tried to drop us off at Terminal 1 in Cancun but I explained we needed to go to Terminal 2. It was also printed on the ticket that the departure is at Terminal 2. Make sure you get to that terminal. The driver even got out at Terminal 2 and went inside to verify it was the correct place which it was.(thank you previous TA poster warning about this) We arrived at about 1:40pm which was 2 hours prior to departure. We were greeted by an Airport employee who helped us identify which gate we needed to check in with our luggage. This day it was gates 61,62,63. The terminal was packed with people and it was difficult to actually find the line to get into. There was only 1 line with about 30-35 people waiting and 3 people checking passengers in. We waited about 30 minutes and the line had moved about 3 people. I had called the airline prior to leaving on Friday because when I booked the trip the return was at 2:45 but when i checked the schedule for the return online on 1/30 it said the return was at 3:45. I called their customer service number and they verified the return time at 3:45. Note I never received any email or call or text stating the time of the return flight had changed. Some of the passengers in line with us thought the flight was still leaving at 2:45 and I explained it was really leaving at 3:45. Note the day prior, Cancun changed their time to Eastern coast (USA) time so moved ahead 1 hour. That is probably is why the departure time changed. Anyway in speaking with the other passengers someone mentioned they had purchased the Viva Express option and that there should be a separate line to check in. So he walked out of the line and went to the front of a line that had no one in it. The rest of us that had also paid for this option joined him. We waited and waited as it was taking these agents at least 15 minutes per person to check in. When the first guy in our line got to the desk of course everyone that was still in the other line got really upset and he turned to them and said he was in the Express line because he paid the extra fee. They told him there was no express line. He asked the agent and she said there is no Express line and that there is only 1 line to check in. Then an employee from LAN Airlines came over and said we were all standing in the LAN VIP express lane and to get out of that lane if we were flying Vivaaerobus!. Needless to say none of us were happy. We went to the back of the check in line and waited. It took another 45 minutes to get checked in. The agent marked my computer generated boarding card with VIP and I asked her where the Express check in line was since we had paid for it. Maria who checked me in said there was no Express line. So off we went thru security and waited at Gate 10 for departure. They announced a gate change to Gate 7 but we had noticed it before they announced it and had gone over there. I found 2 seats near the check in desk. There was no Vivaaerobus plane outside. Another plane landed and those people deplaned. The gate agents showed up who had checked us in. I was looking for the same signs that I saw in Houston that said VIP/1/2/3/4 but they didn't have any. The area was packed with people so I went up to the agent and asked where the VIP boarding line was. Maria the same agent that checked me in stated to stand right where I was and we would be boarding shortly. About a minute later all of these people who also paid for VIP started asking her where the line was. I told them it was behind me! When they opened the door to board, there was a bus, but no plane. We were told to board the bus and it would take us to the plane. Well how does that work with 65 people on the bus? What is the point of the VIP boarding when that isn't going to happen when we all get off the bus. Of course it didn't.
Once we did get on the airplane again it was a good experience just like it was in Houston. The flight took off on time and landed on time. No complaints there.
The complaint I have is that I purchased 2 extra options that were not available in Cancun and I want a refund. As I write this I'm on hold yet again with the Vivaaerobus customer service agent. This is the 7th time I have called since Monday. The first 5 times I called they said they would have to contact the agents in Cancun at the airport to find out what happened. I kept calling back and they kept telling me they hadn't heard from the airport and asked me to call back in 2 hours. I kept doing that without any success. Finally I spoke with a supervisor and he told me the same thing. I asked him to call me back when the airport agents had responded. He never called me back. I called back last night (Wednesday) and went thru the whole thing again with another agent who then said that the airport agents called back and there was an Express line and VIP boarding so no refund would take place. I asked to speak with the supervisor and the only one available spoke Spanish which I don't speak. So now I'm on hold again today to speak with a Manager. The supervisor told me that they won't refund my money since the airport said they didn't do anything wrong.
The moral of this travel experience with Vivaaerobus is beware about buying add on's that they sell as you may or may not get them. If you don’t get them you will not get a refund. They don’t send out emails/texts/voicemails if the flight times change either so call the airline or check online to see if the times change. You can’t check in online or pre-print a boarding pass for either a Houston or Cancun departure ahead of time. You must check in at the airport. They do weigh your luggage and if you are over you will either need to rearrange your bags or pay the higher fee (it happened to a group of 5 ahead of us in line in Cancun). Again the flight experience was fine and the inflight service was fine. Our bags were checked and arrived safely and undamaged. Most importantly we arrived safely in both destinations and had a great time in Cancun!
maria teresa sierra morales flying from Cancun to Mexico City
me parece k es muy factible con sus precios y sus destinos me gusta viajar en viva aerobus
Mark Diaz flying from Tijuana to Monterrey
Cheap fares, cheap service, cheap planes. You get what you pay for. The planes are dirty. They charge for everything that is imaginable. You must purchase your tickets months in advance in order to obtain the low priced tickets they offer. But, if you do, you face the fact that they constantly change the flight schedules after you have purchased your ticket, and if the new schedule does not suit your needs, they charge to change your flight and will not issue a refund if their "new" schedule no longer suits your travel needs. You better not be more than 5 ft 6 in tall or you will not fit into their extremely cramped Boeing 737 seats. At the end of the day, if you obtain one of their cheaper tickets, you cannot beat the fare. But, buyer beware, tons of headaches and grief are also part of the cost that you will pay.