Rene Schneeberger, VP, Leisure Supplier Management, Direct Travel recent experience as a US citzen traveling to Mexico.
Trip: San Francisco to Cancun
Date: June 25-28, 2021
Purpose: Apple Leisure Group Annual Meeting
This was my third trip to Mexico in the past 6 months, yet due to the frequent regulation changes, my biggest concern ahead of reaching the airport was the question of which type of paperwork I would be asked to present to the check-in agent. My carrier for this journey was United Airlines which I can attest, features an overall robust digital travel alert system on its United App that is supposed to make things easy. As anticipated, three days prior to my flight, I got a push notification from the app with up-to-date requirements.
As of this writing, to enter Mexico from the United States, all that is required is an entry form
and a health questionnaire; no test or proof of vaccination. I filled out my Mexico Entry Form at home the night before and printed it out and I planned to complete my health questionnaire on arrival as it is not avaialble digitally. I might add that you should be aware of the countless internent scams which charge a fee for entry forms that are actually offered by the respective governmental entities for free.
Once at the check-in counter, to my surprise and contrary to the app, the United agent insisted I have the medical form filled out for her or she would not hand me the boarding pass. A couple of minutes was all it took and it was no big deal as she handed me the required paper form to complete. Note that check-in on the app for my flight was not possible due to “document verification” alert. If this is the case for your upcoming trip, I highly suggest you arrive at the airport a minimum of 2 hours before departure. Check-in lines can be long and take more time than usual due to the multitude of document checking the agents have to perform.
Once checked in, the TSA process was the same as before the pandemic and a few minutes later I was at the gate ready to board. The 4-hour flight went off without a hitch and I felt safe the entire way as there were regular reminders from the United crew about wearing masks over nose and mouth. They were kind but firm and all guests complied.
The conference resort pre-scheduled my viral antigen test required to return to the United States 3 days prior to check-out at their in-house medical center. I showed up to the appointment with my passport and 10 minutes later I was back at the meeting with my test results conveniently delivered in printed form to my room the next day. It is my understanding that most resorts in Mexico handle the required return home test in this fashion.
Our shared transfer dropped a group of 8 travelers at Cancun Terminal 2 departure level. It was a bit chaotic as the airport was packed. Once at the correct check-in line for my flight back to San Francisco, I had to show my test result and the receipt for the Quintana Ro departure tax. After check-in was complete, I made my way up to the departure security section. I highly recommend you either have the printed Traveler Risk Factors Questionnaire (1 per person) or your phone with WIFI fully charged to access the electronic version. It is best to fill out the form before entering the line as it can get hectic otherwise. Simply visit https://afac.hostinerapp.com or click the QR code displayed on many signs around the airport. After completing the form, I suggest you take a picture of the approval (photo below right) for easy displaying as you will need to show it multiple times before boarding your return flight.
Important: The date on the form must be the day of departure – don’t do it early or they won’t accept it
In my case, this process was rather chaotic as most departing guests either didn’t know about this form or didn’t have it ready. That meant everyone bunched up on top of each other on the landing pad after the escalator takes you upstairs to the departure corridor. The resulting traffic jam of travelers created the only time I felt somewhat threatened by the lack of distancing space available. I recommend preparing this form in quiet space before queuing up for security.
Arriving back at San Francisco International Airport was a breeze. The Border Patrol agent didn’t even ask where I was. My Global Entry pass made the entire process fast, easy, and safe.
Overall this trip was a breeze and the completely sold out flights in both directions on large Boeing 777 aircraft showed how popular a destination Mexico has become since the pandemic.