Thursday, June 29, 2023

The Journey Started Well Enough...

Yesterday, I made the journey from Mexico City to Ohio.

On this trip I had booked economy seats using my frequent flyer miles.  When I checked in online the day before, I was going to see how expensive it would be to upgrade to "Economy Plus" for more legroom.  When I clicked on an "Economy Plus" window seat for the Mexico City - Houston flight, I was immediately assigned that seat at no extra charge!  Perhaps it is because I have "Silver Premier" status that they did not charge me for the upgrade?  Anyway, I was not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.  When I checked the Houston - Cleveland flight, however, the only "Economy Plus" seats available were middle seats.  So, I just kept my economy aisle seat.

My flight from Mexico City was supposed to depart at 11:30 AM.  Alejandro drove me to the airport.  We had to wait in a long line to check my suitcase, so we really didn't have time to eat breakfast before going through security and heading to my gate. I arrived at the gate shortly before boarding was supposed to start.  However, the plane was not yet at the gate.  It finally arrived, boarding began, and we pulled out about a half hour behind schedule.  I was not worried, since I had a three-hour layover in Houston.

We did not have the usual long wait on the runway for our turn to take off.  We were soon in the air.  My window seat was on the right side of the plane (I have normally been on the left side), so I had a different view during takeoff.  However, the sky was partially overcast, and I had no opportunity to see the volcanoes to the east of the city.

A remnant of the of the lake system which once covered a large portion of the valley where Mexico City stands today.

The flight to Houston takes only about two hours.  Before long we were flying over the Gulf coast of Texas.

I could see downtown Houston as we made our descent.

We had made up time, and, when we pulled up to the gate, we were only eleven minutes behind schedule.  In the past, going through immigration and customs and returning through security at Houston airport has been a breeze.  I don't know if I simply arrived at a bad time, but there was a long line at immigration, and security was chaotic.  But I was not concerned since I still had plenty of time to make my connection to Cleveland.

It was not until I had passed through security and checked the board to find the gate for my next flight that the smooth journey suddenly went awry.  My flight for Cleveland was supposed to leave at 6:00 PM, but it was delayed and not scheduled to depart until 9:00 PM.  I had heard that there were severe thunderstorms on the east coast, and apparently those had thrown many flights off schedule. 

I had a pass to use the United Club, so I decided this would be a good time to take advantage of the comfort (and free food!) of the lounge.  However, the lady at the entrance said they were not accepting day passes because the club was too crowded.  She said to try later.  I went back a couple of times, but there was a line out the door.  

It would now be after midnight before my flight would arrive in Cleveland.  I got out my laptop and sent an email to my friend who housesits for me.  I told him not to bother meeting me at the airport.  I would take a taxi when I got to Cleveland.

Each time I checked the board, the estimated departure time was later and later, until it was pushed back to 10:30 PM.  The plane arrived, but then they were waiting for a flight attendant to complete the crew.  To the cheers of the waiting passengers, she arrived, and we were able to board, and leave at 10:15.  

The plane arrived at Cleveland airport at 1:45 AM, and by the time I got home it was 2:30.  It was a very long and tiring day!

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