Friday 30 November 2012
Highlights: Business Class flights, Mexico City Immigration (not).
A 7.15 am shuttle meant an early start especially to pack for the upcoming international flight to Mexico today. We were the only ones in the shuttle today and the friendly driver wanted to know our travel plans. Normally this is where mum steps in as she loves to talk to Americans but this guy wanted to talk to me, I’m not the best morning person but I made an effort.
We checked in separately since my mum is going to San Francisco. She decided to check in 2 bags believing it was $25 for one bag and $35 total for both but no it is $60 total for both bags. Next time she will be packing differently so it’s only one checked bag. In Australia for a main airline domestically you don’t pay for checked bags but it is different in the USA. At least my mum got free checked based on my status with the Oneworld Alliance via QANTAS.
For me my bag was tagged priority I had a few problems with the Checkin Agent about leaving Mexico, their system doesn’t recognise Cuba and when I return to Mexico I leave via a land crossing so no flights details to type. The USA ban on Cuba is crazy in this day and age, if they lifted it USA culture would quickly swamp Cuba and they would win (not that this is necessarily a good thing).
The Orlando Airport doesn’t have a Oneworld Lounge but they do have free wi-fi. I quickly found one of the only free power points for my devices and starting writing my travel stories on my blog and the travel forum I am a member of (Australian Frequent Flyer). We got early to the airport for my mum’s flight but the 2 hours still rushed by and before long we said our goodbyes. I hope she enjoyed the last 9 days and has a good time in San Francisco.
My first flight was Orlando to Miami. About 10 minutes after we leveled off we where heading back down. An incredibly short flight or it would have been if the pilot didn’t pull out of the landing at the last minute, I think there was still another plane on the runway! From here I had 3.5 hours to kill before me flight to Mexico City. I spend this time first in the Admirals Club which is just a place to sit quietly with free wi-fi and a drink voucher (which I gave away). Bored I headed for the gate early and came across a Premium Lounge I was allowed access to. Now this lounge had free drinks and food and was a great place to relax, if only I had known earlier.
I was in business class for this 3.5 hour flight. We were delayed as a passenger who checked in didn’t show up. It took them about 20 minutes to find he’s bag and offload. The meal on the bag was very nice and the hot chocolate cookie and very nice touch even if I ended up with chocolate all over my hands 🙂 At Mexico City Airport it was another world away from the USA. The lines at immigration stretched outside the arrivals hall, people like me got in the wrong line since there are no signs outside the hall. Locals kindly directed me to the visitor’s line. If took 1 hour 48 minutes to clear immigration and customs (a separate area). My bag looked like it had been on the ground for a long time, they check your baggage receipt to claim probably since it takes so long to claim.
I was unable to immediately find the Hilton Hotel which is in the same terminal but the information counter set me right and a few minutes later I crashed onto my bed not wanting to move. I’ll be sleeping a lot tomorrow with my spare day at the airport with nothing planned other than to hopefully purchase the Cuban Visitor Card so I can go on my next leg otherwise I better find something else to do in this region.