I’ve heard horror stories about the Mexico City (DF) airport but aside from ridiculously long waits in between flights, I’ve never really had any problems.
On Friday my plane landed in DF at 11am and I had a whole plan for how I was going to amuse myself until my flight at 3:40pm. I figured my biggest problem would be not falling asleep from sheer boredom and missing my flight.
Let’s just say I didn’t get bored.
When I checked in at the Zihua airport I was told I’d need to get my boarding pass for the connection once I landed. Okay, no big deal. Well, an hour and a half later I finally had that boarding pass and arrived at my connecting gate. The longest I waited in line was maybe five minutes, so that was 85 minutes of schlepping across the DF airport, going from one counter to the next to the next, then yet one more. No one seemed to know exactly where I was supposed to go, but that didn’t stop them from giving me a destination, all of which involved going “way way down there, all the way to the end, then turn left.”
The most bizarre was when I was told I had to go to Terminal One. My instructions were something along the lines of “go way way down, all the way on the left, then go outside and at the very end there’s a white bus.”
“A bus? Not a train?”
Sure enough, I walked outside (with the cabs, etc) and at the very end was a white bus surrounded by a little rope. Two women sat at a folding table and were checking IDs before you could board. Shortly after I got on the bus took off on the main road that normal cars drive on – not an airport access road. Then someone emerged from behind a bush and opened a large gate and we entered the actual runway. We even had to stop to let planes go by! (This was the point that I started looking around for hidden cameras, convinced we were either filming a movie or I was part of some prank show.) We meandered past hangars and planes and luggage carts. Apparently that was just a shortcut because we came to another gate where we were let back onto the street.
Or we tried to get back onto the street. See, there was a parade going by and no one wanted to let us in. The man who’d opened the gate stepped into the 4-lane road to stop traffic, but they kept driving around him. Finally another bus let us through. A few minutes later we pulled up to Terminal One and I only had to go to two more counters before I finally got my boarding pass.
In the midst of all this I was asking everyone I talked to where I was supposed to get my FM3 visa stamped because I somehow missed that step when I came to the States in August and they didn’t want to let me back in the country. Once again, everyone agreed with me that “yes, you would have problems if you didn’t have it stamped, but I’m not the person who does it, but if you go way down there then turn left, you should find the person that can help you.” I did eventually find the proper counter.
After all that, I still had three hours to kill, then a four-hour plane ride. I’ve never been happier to see cold weather.