Didn’t think there was going to be a part III to this story, but sadly, there is. Yesterday, Sunday Jan 3rd, we were set to depart from Guadalajara (GDL) airport, back to Toronto. Security in Mexico is more advance than in Toronto – believe it or not. Before check-in, our luggage was opened and hand-searched. Then, after checking in, we passed through security. The usual rules for liquids & gels and laptops applied, although we did get to keep our shoes on. Then, before boarding the plane, we had yet another check point, where our carry-on bags were now hand-searched (they had already been x-rayed) and a pat-down (although not as invasive as in Toronto).
Our very full plane left from GDL a half-hour late, at 8:30 am. We had booked through American Airlines, but were flying on Mexicana for this flight. Nothing really interesting to report here except that we weren’t able to get emergency exit seating and Dan is 6’2″ tall. Do the math. On arrival to the US, even though we were only in transit, we still had to go through customs, pick up our luggage and through security once again. When we arrived in Chicago, we quickly went through customs and then waited for our bags. Happily, mine did show up. Unhappily for Dan, his did not. We waited and waited, and then realized we had to get going to make our connecting flight. As Chicago was not our final destination, there was nothing we could do about Dan’s luggage at this point.
We rushed to the next terminal for our flight from Chicago to Toronto and again waited in a fairly long security line-up. I had really had enough at this point and when my bag was pulled aside for a search (I had left a sip of water in my re-usable water bottle) – I broke down. I was exhausted and so tired of being searched and patted-down and just treated like a threat to society. Now, I do realize that everyone is treated this way, but that still doesn’t make it ok.
Our flight to Toronto was delayed. At this point, we could only laugh! We enjoyed a sit-down lunch (a luxury we had not anticipated) and headed to the gate. Dan and I did get emergency row seating this time, which was excellent. There was one more challenge though – due to the weather on the east coast, the plane did not have enough fuel to carry a full load of passengers and their bags (luckily Dan’s was not on the flight!!). So, 8 people had to be removed from the flight, since there were no volunteers (next flight was Monday morning). We were SO HAPPY to be on the flight, and felt pretty awful for those who had to stay behind. We heard so many horror stories from many other passengers, one couple we met didn’t leave until Tuesday (they were scheduled to leave with us on Sunday with American Airlines).
It’s Monday afternoon here in Burlington, and I am very grateful to be home. Dan’s luggage is still missing – they have yet to locate it. The house is a mess, the cat needs some love and a shave, and we are both exhausted from our trip. We learned a few great lessons though:
- Traveling over the holidays is a very bad idea
- Traveling through the US when you are not actually going to the US is a bad idea
- When flying to the US, fly from Buffalo so that your flight is domestic
- Unfortunately, this time, the terrorist did cause total chaos during the busiest travel period of the year – and even though it is out of our control – it is disturbing that one crazed person can cause so much havoc
- It’s a good idea to become rich as soon as possible, in order to travel first class or by private plane!
Next time I’ll share a few travel tips that might be of use for future trips. For now, we are staying put. Of course, until we go to San Francisco in February.