Skip to Content

Tourists File 1300 Complaints At Cancun Airport, Will It Affect Your Next Trip?

Share The Article

Last Updated

Cancun Airport just logged 1,300 official complaints in the last four months!

From overbooked flights to predatory car rentals, could the chaos derail your dream vacation?

Here's what you need to know:

Tourists In Cancun Airport, Cancun, Mexico, Latin America

Cancun International is currently the main entry point for tourists landing in Mexico: it serves not only the city of Cancun, the leading leisure destination in Latin America and all of Northern Quintana Roo, but also popular resort towns like Playa del Carmen and Puerto Morelos.

It's incredibly busy, hosting more than 30 million travelers each year, so it goes without saying no arrival in Cancun is exactly smooth, whether it's long wait times at the border or the infamous ‘Shark Tank', an area of the airport where newcomers are subject to harassment from scam taxi drivers.

Complaints about Cancun Airport have been well documented in the media before, but it wasn't until recently that the Federal Consumer Protector's Office reopened a ‘complaint office' to address issues commonly raised by tourists.

So far, they have received more than 1,300 complaints, a number that can be interpreted as staggering by some, and if you've done some reading on Cancun Airport lately ahead of your upcoming trip, you may be wondering how exactly you could be affected:

Well, first, let's understand these figures:

What Are Travelers Complaining About?

Traffic Sign Airport or Cancun with arrows on the street at Hotel Zone

The Federal Consumer Protector's Office (which we will shorten to FCPO) has been handling complaints since December.

Their sole job is to ensure passengers ultimately have a positive experience transiting Cancun International.

Since opening, however, complaints have exploded, with over a thousand recorded so far and an average of 30-35 filed per day.

Based on the data available, a majority of the complaints are related to airlines (over 70%).

According to the Cancun Sun, these have mostly been related to airlines overbooking flights, resulting in the much-dreaded ‘bumping' – when a passenger is denied boarding as a result of a full aircraft – and other delays.

Volaris Plane Being Unloaded In Tarmac, Unspecified Airport

This sounds worrying enough, particularly when you hope that a vacation is stress-free from start to finish and when you can't afford to miss a day of work in the event of an overnight delay, but thankfully, most of the overbooking complaints are restricted to two carriers:

Mexico's own low-cost carriers VivaAerobus and Volaris, which typically serve domestic destinations within Mexico, and a handful of seasonal U.S. flights.

Other than these airlines, the remaining 30% of complaints centered on car rental agencies:

There have been a sizable number of reports of non-compliance and even abuse of visitors when dealing with these agencies, who are known for participating in Cancun's scam culture, overcharging their foreign clientele, or even sometimes failing to deliver a quality service.

Car Rental Vehicles In Line

Fortunately, there don't seem to be an awful lot of reports on customer mistreatment or unpreparedness on airport staff's part.

Two major areas of focus are the practice of overbooking (mainly by VivaAerobus and Volaris) and car rentals.

Still, how likely are you to be affected and to see yourself standing before FCPO to file a complaint?

How Does This Affect Your Trip To Cancun?

All those complaints may sound worrying, but we have to remember this is Cancun Airport, where millions of travelers transit routinely and over 500 flights are handled each day.

If things were indeed bad here, at this rate, you'd expect complaints to skyrocket.

A Row Of Frontier Planes At An Airport

That's clearly not what's happened.

As authorities have reiterated since the service was launched in December, complaints have been restricted to 30 to 35 a day, and considering the number of flights that have landed in or departed from Cancun, that's not a bad ratio.

We're talking over 45,000 flights since December, considering there are at least 500 every day, which means there has been minimal neglect on the airlines' and airport staff's part to warrant an FCPO complaint.

Yes, it is a a pretty hectic airport, and yes, service could be better, but you are extremely unlikely to have a particularly negative experience, except for minor, quickly-forgotten inconveniences.

Sign for airport taxis in cancun

In short, it is highly unlikely your trip will be affected, and we should see the fact that the FCPO is releasing these figures and being transparent about issues travelers commonly face in Cancun Airport as a good thing.

After all, it helps us be prepared and know what to expect in an adverse situation.

How Does The FCPO Work?

Once you present yourself to the FCPO with a complaint or to provide negative feedback on the airport's customer service, staff will then try to assist you in finding ‘immediate resolutions,' so you don't need to take further action or lose more of your precious vacation time.

Woman Stressed at Airport

They work directly with Cancun airport operators and airlines to solve issues, so problems are often followed up on in real time, and an agreement is reached between all the involved parties in the shortest time possible.

In the unlikely scenario that a solution can't be offered at the airport, travelers are reassured they will be getting a final response from the relevant authorities, either at their destination in Mexico, in case they're just arriving, or at their place of residence in the United States or elsewhere.

Luckily, most issues are promptly resolved.

On the feedback front, the FCPO has also been listening to widely-known traveler grievances pertaining to airport infrastructure, and they have been quick to advise airport management on how to improve services.

Travelers Scanning Their Passports At eGates For Automated Border Control, International Travel

Cancun International Airport is a privately-owned hub, at the end of the way, trading on a stock exchange in the States, so they naturally want to keep customers happy, and while the Shark Tank is yet to be dismantled, other measures have been taken recently.

These include the installation of eGates, allowing U.S. citizens to ‘scan' their way into Cancun without having to speak first to a border agent, as well as more check-in kiosks, which have been instrumental in streamlining the influx of travelers.

Since the latter has been introduced, the check-in process has been reduced to five minutes or less.

a woman having her luggage checked at airport security

When To Contact The FCPO?

If you experience any issues with an airline or airport staff, you should try to solve them with the service provider first, before contacting the FCPO, as they can make any changes that are necessary, or assist with travel-related problems.

If you get bumped off a flight, an airline can quickly save you a seat on the next flight out or, in some cases, offer to cover your expenses during a long delay.

If you're unable to find a satisfactory solution with the airline, however, or you feel they did not handle the situation ideally, you should contact the Federal Consumer Protector's Office.

Young Female Traveler Holding Up A US Passport At The Airport

Where To Find The FCPO?

There is an FCPO in Terminal 2, as well as Terminals 3 and 4, which are expansions of the service that relaunched in December.

Most international flights leaving from Cancun, and a majority of U.S. flights, will depart from Terminal 3, where customs and immigration are housed, making it easy for foreign travelers to find the nearest available complaint office.

↓ Join Our Community ↓

The Travel Off Path Community FB group has all the latest travel news, conversations, and Q&A's happening daily! 


Enter your email address to subscribe to Travel Off Path's latest breaking travel news, straight to your inbox.

This article originally appeared on

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Friday 29th of March 2024

This article is not accurate. I quit flying into Cancun many years ago because these problems existed. Especially with car rentals, and the people I know who fly into and out of there today say that things have not changed. When car rental agencies will not rent you the car until you pay more because they claim there was a mistake made at booking, and you were given to low a rate. Also when they want to charge you over $400 for insurance on a three day rental, it is a rip off. The airport is a small, cramped and crowded mess. The writer claims that the 1,300 complaints is not many based on the number of people who visit each year. But the question is how many people do not file a complaint because they have wasted so much time getting through the mess at the airport, that they just want to get to the hotel and the beach. Why would anyone write such an inaccurate, false, and untruthful account.