Waiting for Nachot

Friday, January 23, 2009

We have successfully completed the first of our many tasks for today: picking up Nacho from the airport. He came in today on a new flight Mexicana is offering, an overnight direct flight from LAX to Oaxaca. A direct flight between the two sounds like a great idea and seems long overdue, though I did see some of the hitches in the plan this morning.

I haven’t yet been on this flight (and overnight makes it sound less appealing to me), but I do like the direct flight from Houston to Oaxaca via Continental Express. Either flight lets you skip the Mexico City airport, which is a big plus in my book. I hate how generally when you are getting a connecting flight at Mexico City, they just put you in a big holding room, and announce the gate for your flight about 30 minutes before you are supposed to take off. The holding area is crowded and uncomfortable, even though there is plenty of seating in the gate areas. Then, you have to make a mad, last-minute scramble to your connecting gate, sometimes running into the previous passengers trying to deboard. It’s a mess and I can’t understand why they can’t figure out the gate assignments at least a few hours in advance, if not at the outset of the day.

Unfortunately, the Mexicana direct flight has its problems, too, mainly getting through immigration, which in Oaxaca seems to consist of only 2 immigration officials. For the Continental flights it’s not too bad, because they’re small planes, only 3 seats to a row. So, while it can be slow getting through immigration, it’s not unbearable. But the Mexicana flights are much bigger, 6 seats to a row, but still only two immigration officials.

We ended up waiting on Nacho for over an hour; his plane landed at 6:22am, but it was after 7:30am when he finally emerged. (Of course, adding insult to injury he actually got the red light at customs, meaning a customs officer gave his bags a cursory search.)

It does look like they are working on renovating the Oaxaca airport. Hopefully, they will expand its immigration area so they can have more officers working the incoming flights to speed things up.

I still think I like the Oaxaca airport better than the Mexico City one.


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