Arrival and Departure
When you arrive, you will have to go through customs which, if the airport is busy at the time, will be the longest slowest line you ever want to be in. If you are with your family, have one person take any small kids for a walk so they don't get bored. Before you get to the head of the line, make sure everyone has their tourist card and customs form in order. At this checkpoint, you hand in the first part of the tourist card.
The next checkpoint is where you hand in the customs form. By this time, if you have to pay any duty, you should have already filled out another form and paid it. (Although I didn't see the office where you get those forms.) The things I noted on the customs form were:
Each person presses a button and some people are randomly selected to have their luggage searched.
If you are traveling on a vacation package, you will be met right after this checkpoint by a representative who will show you to the van that will drop you off at the hotel. If not, get a cab outside. See the section on taxis for information on the likely fare.
Tourist visa requirements for Mexico; especially valuable if you are visiting from outside North America, as the requirements are stricter.
When you check in at the airport for your return flight, you hand in the second part of the tourist card. Make sure not to leave it back at the hotel!
The airport appears to be a smoke-all-you-want zone. There's also not much seating on the lower level (before the security check). Don't be ashamed to camp out on the floor if you have a long wait.
Most of the departure gates are on the upper level, past the security check. This part of the airport is very noisy -- it is common for 2 announcements to be broadcast at the same time, making it impossible to understand either. If your plane is delayed, try to wait in the downstairs part.
Delays and gate changes are not always announced very well. Don't be afraid to ask at the information booth if the flight status has changed or if the flight is still leaving from the same gate.
There are bathrooms near several of the gates, around the outside of the departure area. They are marked with a "faucet" symbol. There is only one toilet per bathroom, plus a separate wheelchair-accessible toilet. If you really have to go, this is one time that we might excuse "parking" in a handicapped zone.
I found the best food option to be the "California Pizza" outlet on the lower level. They actually cook your pizza to order, taking 10-15 minutes. Pizza is not available until noon; before that there is a breakfast menu.
Food prices in the departures section are 2-3 times what you might expect. If you intend to spend your last pesos as you leave, do it before you get to the airport!