Cozumel-Cancun on a Dornier-228
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Cozumel-Cancun on a Dornier-228

It’s actually quite easy to get from Cozumel to Cancun by ferry and bus through Playa del Carmen, but as soon as I found out about the MAYAir airline, which uses the German Dornier-228, I immediately forked over the $60 for a 20-minute flight over the Caribbean.

Dornier 228 of MAYAair

The tiny Dornier-228 has room for only 19 passengers and so has just two rows of seats. Upon arriving at the deserted terminal of Cozumel around 6 AM (an hour before departure time) I was surprised to find it closed. After wandering around the building in search of an entrance, I was stopped by a security guard who asked me what I was looking for. When he heard that my flight was booked with MAYAir, he pointed me to a small section sticking off the main terminal, which turned out to be the terminal for business aviation. An interesting start to my day.

Soon it was time to check in (though to call the process “check in” is a stretch): my e-ticket was verified with the list of passengers and exchanged for a very worn, laminated piece of paper, while my baggage was weighed and immediately loaded on a trolley, and I was told to return to my seat.

Half an hour later, nobody else had shown up, and I was beginning to think that I might be the only passenger on the trip. However, by and by passengers began to arrive (mostly local businessmen), eventually totaling 10 people. The last passenger arrived 15 minutes before departure time.

After passing through an improvised security checkpoint, we headed for the plane, while our baggage was carted alongside us on the trolley. Of course, the interior of the Dornier-228 is no A380, but it turned out to be pretty comfortable. There were even in-flight magazines in the pockets of the seats. The door to the cockpit not only wasn’t closed, it was non-existent, which made the flight all the more entertaining.

Passenger cabin of Dornier 228

As we started up the engine and took off, I grabbed my camera to take some pictures of Cozumel and its cruise ships from a bird’s eye view. After 10 minutes I could already see the famous hotels of Cancun.

Cozumel resort

Hotels of Cancun

Another surprise was waiting for us after the landing. Instead of docking at the main terminal, the Dornier taxied over to the terminal for business aviation (this gave me an opportunity to photograph the curious Mexican business jets).

At the airport of Cancun

We disembarked, promptly received our baggage (which was brought on a similar trolley to the one use earlier), and got onto a shuttle which took us to the terminal. In conclusion, if you’re ever out that way, don’t miss the chance to try one of these flights; it’s not every day you get treated like a VIP for just a few dozen dollars.

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Dornier 228

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