I made some plans a few months ago, thinking coronavirus would be more resolved than it is right now! But today I’m going to Denver, Colorado from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico during these times. I already have been nervous because of the various shut downs, blocks to visitors from certain countries, and now even states. Checking, checking, and checking the latest updates, it seems like I will be able to do my quick trip.
Leaving from Puerto Vallarta I see that they are only using Terminal A, normally used only for domestic flights, but that’s okay because it saves the long walk to get to Terminal B. Unfortunately, it seems they are saving money for AC because it is a little warm here! We are actually the only plane to be departing this hour, whereas normally you would see at least 10 airplanes here boarding around this hour.
Of course every one is required to wear masks in the airport and on the plane now, unless you are eating or drinking. I’m planning ahead because I had heard no food or beverages were being served, so with my water bottle and snack, I’m ready to board. United Airlines decided to board now from the back of the plane instead groups, so you boarding card group number is meaningless. Why bother to put it on the boarding pass to begin with? But group 1, first class is being boarded first, meaning every one else will have to pass through them. So social distancing at the gate as everyone else waits to board, does not exist.
We get all boarded and no incidents, everyone seems to be well behaved the whole flight to Houston. We actually arrive a bit early and immigration is a snap, but customs luggage delivery was a disaster. We waited over and hour for the bags to come up the carousel, only to be dropped off at another carousel while I sprint to catch me connection. Why United had all their flights bags on the same carousel, nobody knew, but it was painfully slow!
Once I get out of the secure area, you always need to go back through TSA security with a line of course. There was absolutely no social distancing in place in this line, but everyone had masks on. Then up to the train to the next terminal to catch my next flight and sprinting down the concourse as the only flight departing had to be at the end of terminal C??
Luckily the crew was late in arriving and boarding did not begin on time. Chance to rest and get my body temperature down, just in case someone took my temperature. I would have certainly exceeded the limits after that hustle! As you can no social distancing again at boarding, however they did board from the back of the plane again to avoid passing through other people to get to your seat.
Once again a calm flight with no trouble makers, everyone had their masks on and we actually arrived in Denver a bit early. The same waiting occurred at baggage claim again with no social distancing and by that time people were tired of their masks, so several had removed them. I believe the airlines could do a much better job of getting baggage up and out, so that people can social distance? Just food for thought, but I am sure their profits are more important as today they announced laying off 36,000 workers at United Airlines? They rather would do that, instead of adding staff to make service faster and more efficient?
While the flying experience is never that much fun, the coronavirus flying makes it a just a bit more uncomfortable!!
Now I am traveling back to Mexico from USA, so here is the update of the reverse trip. Flying from Denver without direct flights makes me have to stay overnight in Houston, because United schedule changes prevents me from making a same day connection. All the same practices are the same in the USA as my entry trip. I am flying in First Class on the return, so instead of the small snack water bag, I do get a snack box choice with various snacks eat individually packed inside a sealed box. Not exactly my vision of First Class food, but at least you can get an alcoholic drink now!
We land in Puerto Vallarta as the only plane and instead of using a gate, we are parked on the tarmac with 12 security guards around and bused to the immigration area in Terminal B. Upon entering we are asked for our health questionnaire completed onboard and temperatures are checked. Then we are allowed to go to immigration and bags are already in, so a quick usual customs inspection and I am outside the terminal! Very easy and smooth. I take a cab back home, but not until my luggage is disinfected by the cab company before it is placed in the truck of the cab. Facemasks are worn by the cab driver and myself during the ride back home.
Sure seems like Mexico is far more vigilant than the USA in regards to checking passengers entering their country!