Airport Covid testing tips--first hand experience

by Moxie, Thursday, February 18, 2021, 20:14 (76 days ago) @ wisconsinjuan

So I was one of the folks who missed the 4:20 Alaska to LAX flight due to the fiasco at the airport...here's what happened:

My husband and I arrived by 1PM to give it plenty of time. There were only a few folks in front of us at that time, but the testing kiosk internet was down so they couldn't input your application/take payment. You had to call in to the corporate call center to apply/give credit card info. If you mainly speak English (as we do--we're working on it but our visits/opportunities to study are few and far between) this was very difficult--we got a customer service rep that spoke some English but that didn't help us ultimately (she still apparently misspelled my name). They say at the end of the call they will send you an email with your confirmation number to take to the testing kiosk within "minutes." Ours didn't come for an hour and a half (I noticed at that time it got forwarded from a first try where they had misspelled my email).

(Other folks couldn't get this far--their phones didn't work for calling. Those folks actually ended up in a better situation because one of the kiosk reps would call for them on their own phones and communicate their application and payment info to the call center--I think those folks made the flight...)


In the meantime (long before I got the promised confirmation email) I got notification on my phone from my credit card that the payment had gone through and because it had been almost an hour just to get to this point I showed it to the kiosk reps who were then able to find our application "in the system" (how that's different than/possible with the internet being down I don't know) so we got our tests done about 2:00PM, with the promise that the guaranteed in 1/2 hour results would be available (printed) by 3PM...(see what I did there? LOL).

By 3PM our names had not been called and it was chaos and it seemed the squeaky wheels were getting more results so we started going up to the kiosk every 5 or so minutes asking for our results...to no avail. BTW, you can't check luggage or get your boarding pass until you can show proof of these results. So about 3:45 or so we were finally getting nervous and my husband was holding a spot in line to check luggage while I was standing right at the kiosk window to keep them looking for our results...'cause apparently the system had crashed and they couldn't find folks' applications much less their results (or the two couldn't be tied together because of typos or some such). Sometime after 4PM Alaska was warning us of gate closing and about a half dozen of us were freaking out and really putting those poor kiosk folks though the wringer. About 4:20ish--after we had been told it was too late, gates were closed--they called out my husband's name and handed me his certificate and Alaska rep told him he could make it and I told him to go! He was the last to make it on board.

Meanwhile, several of us were just stunned but still waiting for our results while rebooking our flights. The three kiosk chemists (who were having a no good very bad day too) convinced several folks that they would get their results by email or could pick them up at the kiosk on Friday when they returned for their flight. I was the last hold out--despite several folks kindly offering to share found accomodations with them (since I was the only solo one), I was able to contact our àirbnb host and get the okay to return for 2 nights, so I stayed and kept insisting I wouldn't leave until I had printed results in hand (not going through that again). One of the chemists, Abril, promised me that she would not leave work until she had it and also told me she would drive me to my La Madera airbnb at that time...so I was at the airport until after 8PM last night at which time she finally got the (negative) results from the lab (my name being misspelled was apparently the straw that broke the camel's back among everything else that was going down). FYI, there is NO one at the airport that time but a few workmen and security guards by the way so I wouldn't advise hanging around there that late unless you have a lovely young stressed out exhausted chemist offering to drive you home...and by the way, since she now probably has my name engraved behind her eyes, please, anyone who reads this and goes to that kiosk, tell Abril that she is Colleen Malone's hero.

So there you go. Take from this what you will. I have enjoyed one more day of hammock-time and am trying to decide where to eat my last desayuno in Zihua tomorrow AM...who gets your best molletes vote (walking distance from La Madera)?


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