Mexico-Cancun in business class on Turkish Airlines: sloppy service

Freshly arrived from Istanbul to Mexico City I stayed with the passengers in continuation for Cancun during two hours in the aircraft since we were not allowed to disembark.

Two hours to clean up, load the food and embark passengers who will continue their journey to Istanbul.

So here is the story of this short flight which has a particularity: you can’t buy it because the Mexico-Cancun segment is not commercialized! But we’ll talk about it later.

As a reminder here is the routing of this trip:

As well as all the articles that relate to it!

1Hotel Moxy Paris CDG (no article, look at our previous articles on Moxy Paris CDG )
2FlightParis-Frankfurt – Lufthansa – Business Class
3FlightFrankfurt-Gothenburg – Lufthansa – Business Class
4FlightGothenburg-Istanbul – Turkish Airlines – Business Class
5FlightIstanbul-Mexico – Turkish Airlines – Business Class
6FlightMexico-Cancun – Turkish Airlines – Business Class
7HotelRenaissance Cancun Resort and Marina
8HotelRitz Carlton Cancun
9FlightCancun-Istanbul – Turkish Airlines – Business Class
10FlightIstanbul-Gothenburg – Turkish Airlines – Business Class
11HotelGothia Towers Gothenburg
12RestaurantEpoque in Gothenburg
13FlightGothenburg-Zurich – Swiss – Business Class
14FlightZurich-Paris – Swiss – Business Class

Flight TK184 between Mexico City and Cancun: a not commercialized flight.

For the anecdote and this is perhaps the most interesting thing to remember about this flight is that the flight TK184 goes from Istanbul to Mexico. But also from Mexico City to Cancun. And finally from Cancun to Istanbul.

This is not common but it is far from being an anomaly.

The flight keeps the same number from start to end because it loops without really stopping at its destination.

2h stop in Mexico City to disembark / embark passengers, idem in Cancun then it leaves to Istanbul. It makes stops but doesn’t actually stop at its destination since it is an Istanbul-Istanbul trip that makes two stops along the way.

If, for example, I had an Istanbul-Mexico-Cancun flight that stopped overnight in Cancun before leaving, I would have a different flight number for the return trip. But since there is technically only one flight here, there is only one flight number for three segments.

Those who have read our article on the freedoms of the air will find there subjects we have discussed: Turkish Airlines has the right to carry passengers

  • From Istanbul to Mexico City. (3rd freedom)
  • From Istanbul to Cancun with a stop in Mexico City (8th freedom)
  • From Mexico to Istanbul with a stop in Cancun (4th freedom)
  • From Cancun to Istanbul (4th freedom)

But not from Mexico City to Cancun, which would be a 9th freedom that has not been granted. And for the record if instead of going to Cancun it would go to Rio it would be a 5th freedom.

So much for the exercise of putting into practice the theoretical knowledge of aerial freedom, now let’s go to the flight itself.

The wait in Mexico City

Two hours of waiting in a plane you’ll tell me that it’s not very pleasant but in the end it went by quite quickly between the stock of movies I had on my Ipad and the time spent watching the ballet of the maintenance staff.


One must admit that the cabin of a plane that has just flown almost 15 hours is not in an absolute state of freshness. It is necessary to remove the traces of the various meals, papers thrown here and there or abandoned in the seat pocket, to recover forgotten objects, to recover the pillows and covers to replace them by new ones, and once all is finished to pass the vacuum cleaner.

It’s an intense workand it gives a very organized and meticulous ballet that we rarely have the opportunity to observe from beginning to end when we are passengers.

And if many would have preferred to go stretch their legs in the terminal, I think that for the staff, cleaning a plane when a little less than half of the passengers are still on board must not be ideal either.

During the cleaning, a new crew arrives and we are ready to leave on time.


I’m not going to talk about ours since we are already in the plane but about the passengers who board in Mexico City, visibly surprised to find people already comfortably installed on board.

That’s when I thought to myself that we could have finally gotten out of the device. Since we were in the international zone, the passengers who boarded were also “international” passengers. This confirms at this stage (I still had doubts) that none of them will disembark in Cancun but especially that we could have gone out in the terminal, which would not have been the case if we were leaving from a “domestic” terminal.

Two explanations in my opinion:

1°) The company wants to save time on its boarding process by boarding only new passengers and not a complete aircraft.

2°) The airport is organized in such a way that there is no connection between the incoming and outgoing flows and that it is impossible to re-board without going through immigration in one direction and then the other. Not having made any connections in Mexico City since the end of the 2000’s I have no recollection on this point.

At first glance, 70% of the passengers in the business cabin are new.

Obviously a passenger is not happy and makes it known. He argues with the flight attendant and, in doing so, prevents everyone from moving towards his seat. Obviously the seat he requested is not available. I didn’t hear everything but apparently the seat was free between Cancun and Istanbul but occupied between Mexico City and Cancun and he complained about not having it on both segments. The joys (and bugs) of slightly ” uncommon ” flights.

The cabin

There is no need to repeat the whole presentation made during the previous flight, which you can read again if you feel like it. So here is my seat.


The flight and the service

We push back on time saying goodbye to the Iberia which was next to us.


As we ascend we can admire the terminal.

A few minutes later we fly over an airport that does not seem abandoned but rather not finished. I wonder if this is not the former future new airport of Mexico City whose construction was stopped overnight and left abandoned.

This B787 is really quiet during takeoff.

We are brought a bottle of water.

In two hours we will have arrived.


We are brought our snack and asked what we want to drink.

If you know the excellent reputation of Turkish Airlines and were wondering what we were going to treat ourselves to on this flight ….


I propose you a cutting plan toadmire the extent of the damages.


Visually it is worse than average. Gustatively it is the same. Low cost Mexican catering that no European airline would dare to offer on a medium-haul business (and yet this is a subject on which many have progress to make).

I am even more surprised that Turkish Airlines is able to offer much better even on a domestic flight of less than 40 minutes between Istanbul and Izmir for example.

Okay, the passengers already on board, like me, have already had dinner, breakfast and in two hours, for them, the journey ends.

For the others it’s just an appetizer before a real performance between Cancun and Istanbul.

Nevertheless, it is really disappointing for the first ones considering what they had until then and gives a bad first impression to the others. And again given my previous experiences with Turkish Airlines the length of the flight is not an excuse.

That said, I will take my revenge on the champagne, of which I will take 4 glasses while watching an episode of The Squid Game.

I swallow my disappointment by enjoying the film and the landscape. It’s a change from the Parisian and especially the Swedish autumn that I left less than 24 hours earlier.

Arrival and disembarkation

Once on the ground, a long taxiing to the terminal begins. The opportunity to see a TAP that has just arrived.


We arrive finally at our point of parking for…. a disembarking by bus.

This flight is really cheap in terms of experience. We have a control of the boarding passes at the bottom of the staircase, surely to verify that no passenger boarded in Mexico City goes down.

At least we will not have lost everything: a close-up photo of the engine of this 787-9with its characteristic chevrons that we also find on the B747-8 and 737 MAX.

If you are curious, know that they are used to make the plane less noisy.

Of course there will be no special bus for business class passengers.

The journey is slow and long…worse than at CDG. Once we arrived they did not manage to open the door of the terminal to let us out. ….

Well after some manipulations we are “released”.

The immigration clearance is slow, each passenger spending an eternity talking with the agent, getting out papers…(I don’t understand why because at that time neither vaccine nor test were required to enter Mexico). When it’s my turn…10 seconds are enough for me to get a stamp. There are things I will never explain to myself, among which the fluidity with which I systematically go through the administrative formalities when I travel.

My bags arrive quickly and I run to the hotel. I might as well tell you that with my “Sweden in autumn” outfit I’m eager to change.

Bottom line

What else can we say than “a really disappointing flight”? A very cheap service that can be justified by the special nature of this flight but it is precisely by this kind of detail that we recognize the good airlines from the others. Turkish Airlines has accustomed me to so much better, even on domestic flights, that the disappointment is equal to the expectations.

When you add to that the mess at the landing…

In short, one would have thought one was traveling on AnadoluJet (the low cost subsidiary of Turkish Airlines) rather than with its parent company.

Bertrand Duperrin
Bertrand Duperrin
Compulsive traveler, present in the French #avgeek community since the late 2000s and passionate about (long) travel since his youth, Bertrand Duperrin co-founded Travel Guys with Olivier Delestre in March 2015.

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