Posted by Gary in Seattle from 188.8.131.52 (A010-0986.KRLD.splitrock.net) on Monday, March 04, 2002 at 19:03:12 : Part One – The Hard Part
Folks traveling out of Seattle should be dubious when Alaska (AS) says they open the ticket counters for check-in at 3:30 AM. On our day it was 4:15. By that time there were at least 150 – and quickly growing - bleary eyed souls like us in line. We were the first through screening directly into the D concourse when that station opened. No alarms nor hand searches. No pat-downs. “Have a great trip.” As we looked back several travelers behind us were setting off bells and whistles. Pat-downs were underway. The screening systems must have been fine tuned with us.
We were on the SEA – Mazatlan flight that stops at LAX for our transfer to the Zihua flight. Normally the SEA-LAX-MZT flight is overbooked this time of year. Interestingly at least 20 seats were empty. Was travel to Mexico down this year?
Our question was soon answered. Before landing at LAX there was an announcement that flights for Mexico would be held for other incoming - and late - connections. After landing we learned the Zihua flight would depart a few minutes late. The Vancouver flight was behind time and several other lucky souls bound for paradise would make their connection. Contrary to some concerns posted recently on the board AS was still taking their usual good care of connections.
Our question was again answered when AS announced they were over-booked to Zihua and needed four “bumps.” Travel to Zihua was obviously back to normal.
Caught a good tail wind. On time arrival! Two immigration lines open. Now four! Now two again? An immigration officer told the two closed lines and the two open lines to simply meld like merging traffic. One person/group let one person/group in. Believe it or not there were several grumblings and negative remarks. Good time to slow down and get into the local mode and start enjoying life more. Thanks again to the gentleman who and wherever you are who stepped back, smiled, and motioned us to step in front of you. You were already in the Zihua mode.
Bags now in hand - the moment of truth. Dry mouth, shaking index finger. Like an eerie dream weakly push the button. GREEN LIGHT. Breathing and heartbeat return. Sort of reminds us of the old Red Light – Green Light game as kids with “Engineer Bill” on TV. The game to entice kids to drink their milk. Simple – drink on green, don’t drink on red. Mix it up with red, red. Fast green, red, green etc. Wonder how many kids chocked? Old “Bill” would have been sued into the poor house following the first game this day and age.
The terminal lobby is void of departing folks. Must all be in the final departure area. No glorious tans on happy and sometimes not so happy faces to see. All too soon we’d be back in the terminal.
Gary and Val
Fred C. Dobbs
(Whatever fits the mood)