Last week I went to Mexico for my grandmother’s 80th birthday. Since part of the trip was during the thanksgiving holiday it was near impossible to find flights. We would only be there for 4 days tops, and some of the flights called for 13-17 hour layovers. We eventually booked 2 flights to our final destination that were from two separate airlines, with 1.5 hour to transfer from one flight to the other.
Knowing that little bit of time would really cut it close, we did all we could to prepare beforehand. Packed small carry-on’s to avoid checking luggage, and checking in and printing boarding passes online the night before to our second flight. This way we wouldn’t have to wait in line at a counter to get checked in. We arrived at the airport in the morning with positive attitudes. Come boarding time and our plane hasn’t even arrived yet. We end up leaving about 40 minutes late..uh oh.
We finally land in what seemed to be the most chaotic flight I have ever been on. People’s carry-on’s from the front of the plane are somehow at the back of the plane, and everyone is too slow to move at even a snails pace. My mother and I take a deep breath, and as soon as we step off the plane without even saying it – both know what we’re about to do. We take off with our carry on sprinting through the crowds of people from our flight who don’t follow the protocol of walking on the right so people can pass you on your left. Little by little we pick off one by one until we have passed our entire 300+ person flight (yes we were stuck in the back, lucky I know.)
Barely breathing, but still running we finish our 10 minute sprint into customs and rejoice at the fact that we are the first ones there. We get our documents verified speedily, which my mom insists was due to the customs worker developing a crush on me.
Time was ticking.
We ask where our other airline leaves from, and it’s from the 2nd terminal, which is on the complete other side of the airport…ofcourse… we walk in that direction, press the button and get a red. Our bags must be checked. Luckily that went by quickly, then we jet over to an air tram station that will take us to the other terminal.
The tram closes as we are about to get in it, and we’re not able to get in due to the two people organizing their bags at the spot in which you enter. Awesome.
Finally at the other terminal and we have one more security to go through, in which the guy checking our tickets takes his sweet time analyzing our printed out tickets. “oh, um did you print these at home?” “yes we did.” “hmmm….” as he scans them for authenticity. He let’s us through and now we have to put our stuff through the machines. I make it through and look back for my mom, who has been pulled out of the line to get body checked, as someone begins to go through her stuff. You have got to be kidding me.
I watch agonizing as the guy opens every zipper of her toiletry bag and I am literally shaking with anxiety. “Just keep them, we have to catch our plane!” I hear my mom tell him as he pulls out scissors from her bag… oh my god, my mom has scissors in her carry on. I start with a nervous laugh. He let’s her keep them and she struggles to put everything back in her bag. We turn the corner and start running again, we are at gate 73…and our final destination is 75.
I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel until I hear “overnight accommodations will be set and our next flight leaves tomorrow at noon.” This can’t be happening, my grandmas birthday lunch is the next day, we would never make it. I run to the counter next to where the announcement was made and the worker says my name as a question. Yes, it’s me! He grabs my ticket and scans in. (I figure they must have been calling our name for a while since we had checked in). At this point although he let us down the walkway, I am still not sure if we made it…until we walk down the ramp and board a bus that takes us out to the runway….it closed literally about 60 seconds after we got on it.
Thankful doesn’t begin to describe my feelings after sitting down on that second plane that day.
These are our faces of relief as we sit on our second flight.
Celebratory complementary in-flight beer and reading material.
Beautiful sunset as the world smiled with us.