19 November, 2019

Today’s Topic: Airlines, Residency, and the México Tourism Tax

I’m back from my trip to Beijing! Well, not back in Mazatlán yet, but I won’t be traveling anywhere for several weeks. Until I have the photos from Europe and China edited, I thought I’d make a little post on the Méxican tourism tax that airlines charge if you fly into México from another country, and aren’t a Méxican citizen.

Residents, both temporary and permanent, are exempt from paying the Méxican tourism tax. I’m told that airlines only automatically exempt the people using a Méxican passport during booking from this tax. Sometimes your ticket confirmation will split this tax out, sometimes it won’t – but rest assured, you’re being charged. Alaska Airlines does show it separately, so it’s a nice reminder that you need to contact them to have it removed. I booked my flight back to Mazatlán today and there it was – $28.81, México tourism tax.

Last time I called the airline after I’d gotten home. They scolded me and told me that I was supposed to request the refund when I booked the ticket. I asked them how I was supposed to do this when I booked online, and they didn’t have an answer. They did refund the charge though! Today I called Alaska Airlines customer service (1.800.252.7522) right after I received my confirmation email. Thankfully the agent knew I didn’t need to pay, but she didn’t know how to handle the refund request. About 5 minutes on hold and she came back and told me I had two options:

  1. Request the refund when checking in for my flight.
  2. Send a request via fax to 206.392.7587.

Airports give me a little angst, and the possibility exists that I’ll forget to ask when I check in, which would result in another scolding because I would call after I got home. Fax really sounded like the right option for me.

When requesting the refund via fax, Alaska Airlines requires you to provide the ticketing information – name, confirmation code and/or ticket number. They also require a copy of your resident card, both front and back. So I got the information together, put it all in a .pdf file, and then realized that I no longer had access to a fax.

After a little research, I found a website that will send a fax for you, for free. Faxzero.com doesn’t require you to give them any credit card information just to send a free fax (other sites do). They *do* have access to the information you’re faxing – so if it’s something you don’t want others to see you’re using the wrong service. It’s pretty easy to use faxzero. Took about 5 minutes for the whole process and you can print a confirmation that the fax was received.

I’m sure that the other airlines that fly into México have similar policies – you’ll have to contact their customer service desk to get the particulars. $28.81 may not be a lot of money, but it would buy me a very nice dinner, with drinks, in Mazatlán. I like nice dinners.

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