The long long long long wait

posted in: Middle East 2023 | 8

I have a loooooooooooooooong wait.

I’m in Mexico City airport waiting for my Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul, where I connect to Cairo.

8:30 pm

The trouble with flying Turkish Airlines out of Mexico City is that the flight leaves at 3:45 am. I had to fly on a separate ticket from Guadalajara, and I could have taken a flight that would have gotten here close to midnight. That would be much better. Except if anything went wrong, that’s the last flight of the day. There’s no Plan B. True, it’s not likely the flight would be canceled or delayed long enough for me to miss my connection. But I get anxious about this sort of thing, and I don’t want to start my trip feeling anxious.

So I took a flight from GDL to MEX that arrived here at 6:30. I had a leisurely dinner that wasn’t nearly leisurely enough, walked very far to the Migración office to have my passport stamped, and now I’m sitting by my gate. It’s 8:30 pm. Seven more hours.

The last two times I flew MEX to IST, I was unable to get my boarding pass online, so I had to exit security and wait on the other side to check in. This time, I got my boarding pass at home. So I was able to stay airside. Here there is (marginally) more comfortable seating, as well as more dining and shopping options, so I can at least try to kill time that way.

And by writing a blog post about this long wait.

9:15 pm

I took a break to go shopping. During the tour, we will visit some families for meals and cultural exchange. OAT calls this “A Day in the Life.” So I wanted to get gifts to bring. I settled on some Mexican chocolate bars. I’ll probably be the only person on these tours who lives in Mexico, so I think this will be a nice gift.

I flew Volaris from GDL. Volaris is a very budget Mexican airline. Everything costs extra. The cheapest fare allows only a personal item, no overhead storage. The next level up allows one carry-on plus the personal item. And the highest level allows a checked bag.

And today I discovered that Volaris determines your boarding group by which level ticket you bought. Maybe that’s how they prevent Group 3 from using the overhead bins.

I was in Group 2. I travel light. After all my travels, I’ve learned how to go away for six weeks with just a carry-on and a backpack.

This wait is progressing slowly. Writing about it doesn’t seem to be helping much.

10:45 pm

I had to change seats because a guy was seating near me watching a MAGA video with the volume turned up. I didn’t want to engage with him by asking him to lower the volume or use earphones.

Then I got up to use the baño and checked the board to discover that my flight had a gate change. So I walked from Gate 35 to Gate 24, where they are getting ready to start boarding a flight to Tokyo that departs at 1:05 am. There was a lineup of probably 20 or 30 security officers waiting for something to happen. But there were no passengers. And there was no seating. So I am now sitting at Gate 25, which is actually quite a distance from Gate 24. There appear to be a handful of Japanese people here.

This is not a very user-friendly airport. Distances are vast. 

I’m in Terminal 1. It’s hard to tell the distances, but imagine airplanes lined up at all the gates. And look at the size of the parking lots. I arrived from GDL at Gate 3. I think it’s probably a good half mile from there to Gate 35.

I don’t mind the long distances, though, because walking kills time.

When I return in six weeks, I only have two hours to make my connection, and I’ll have to go through immigration and customs. So I hope I don’t have to walk too far.

I also have just two hours to make my connection in Istanbul, and that’s another huge airport.


Nothing new to report. Still sitting at Gate 25.

1:10 am

I had a bit of a trek since midnight.

It’s been 7 hours since dinner, and I was getting famished.

Since I am flying Business Class, I am entitled to lounge access. In the past when I checked in here at the airport, they gave me a physical pass to enter the lounge. But because I checked in online, I didn’t have the pass. Hoping they might let me in just with my boarding pass, I hiked to the lounge, which is near Gate 20. (Refer to the map above to see how far it is.)

Of course they didn’t let me in.

So I went back to where security is (the red square on the map), thinking that would be the way out to the check-in area (the yellow square). But there is no exit there.

It turns out the exit is by Gate 12.

So, yeah, I walked all the way back to Gate 12, exited through baggage claim, and the walked all the way back to the yellow square, got my paper boarding passes and my lounge pass, and went through security again.

Back at GDL, there was no line for security; I put my things through the xray machine and picked them up on the other side. Easy peasy.

Here there was no line either, but they decided to search my luggage. Of course they didn’t find anything, and they let me go, and I walked back to the lounge, and here I am.

I had a salad with what I thought was honey-mustard dressing and turned out to be mustard.

Boarding is at 2:50.

4:00 am

We actually took off early, and we’re on our way to Cancun, where we stop for an hour and a half before continuing to Istanbul. We’re scheduled to arrive there at 4:45 am Tuesday morning local time.

I always worry about all the things that could go wrong and mess up my planned departure. So I guess I can stop worrying now.

I wait with such anticipation for every trip I take. The months, weeks, and then days creep by so slowly. And at the airport, the hours. But now I’m on my way, and before I know it, this trip, like all the others I’ve taken, will exist only in my memories. That’s why I blog. Sharing my experiences etches the memories in my soul.

8 Responses

  1. Timothy Welch

    Lane, oh, I know, but flying Turkish Airlines in Business is worth the stress! Enjoy your holiday.

  2. Tamera A Vig

    Oh Lane, I did have a chuckle at this post. I loved the hourly format! Yes, those hours go so SLOWLY when waiting for a flight. I have to say I try to avoid flights at that hour, but sometimes it can’t be helped. I hope you have a great trip. We leave for London & Bath in 2 days.

  3. Mardee

    Lane, loving the commentary! And thanks for the tip about gifts for the families. That would not have occurred to me. I’m flying back to Ohio today for a family get together but due to complications from Lyme disease, only had an hour of sleep last night. So I am running on empty right now. Have a great trip!!

    • Lane

      Mardee, you will get all the info from OAT beforehand. And it’s definitely not expected or required to bring gifts, just a nice touch.

  4. Angel

    This is awesome, I know how stressed and anxious you get before you go to the airport and start your trips, have a great time and keep posting and enjoying. Greetings 👋🏽.

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