I’m headed back to the Bay Area earlier than I had anticipated and my decision was driven by airfares, which this year climb steeply around 12 December. I had hoped to wait until the end of December or early January before making the trip back, but airfares jump $150 (USD) or so on the 10th, then another $100-150 or so about a week later. It’s possible to pay over $1,000 on certain dates for a round-trip that you might have been able to purchase for $425 a few weeks earlier. As people farther north escape winter, the fares remain high during January, one of the busiest times of the year for the tourist business here.
Here are three of my flight options from Aeropuerto Benito Juarez in Mexico City to San Francisco and Oakland for the time period I chose:
- U.S. Airways – departs Mexico City at 7:10 in the morning, which means staying overnight in Mexico City (an added cost) with a return from San Francisco arriving near midnight, which means another overnight in Mexico City.
- Volaris – arrival in Oakland at 1 a.m. with a 2 a.m. departure from Oakland for the return leg.
- AirTran – the lowest fare and the most sensible departure and arrival times. A 2:19 p.m. departure from Mexico City with arrival in San Francisco at 7:36 p.m. The return departure from San Francisco is at 7:40 a.m. and arrives in Mexico City around 4 p.m.
The airports at León and Querétaro are closer, but the airfares are higher ($350 and $500, respectively) than the lowest fare for flying into Mexico City on the dates I’ve chosen. Even after including the cost of a longer bus ride and taxi fares, Aeropuerto Benito Juarez is advantageous for me from a cost perspective.