Monday, November 16, 2009

The Journey Back

When people ask, "How was your flight?" I'm always grateful to be able to answer, "uneventful." That's the way we like them. I flew Continental Airlines from Phoenix to Houston, then direct to Oaxaca. It's worth something not to have to change planes in Mexico City. I think about 80% of all flights into and out of this country (except those to resort destinations) go through Mexico City. It's one of my least-favorite airports. Clearing customs and immigration there is sort of like doing that at New York's JFK: it's a zoo.

I traveled on this trip with two pieces of excess baggage for a total of four 50-pound bags. There's something to be said for checking in that heavy load at Phoenix, waving bye-bye, and seeing it all next at my destination, Oaxaca. It all went smoothly. Everything got here on time, on schedule, with nothing broken. I cleared immigration, picked up my bags, and cleared customs at Oaxaca's tiny airport in a record 15 minutes! I'm into easy travel. This was easy.

The flight from Houston arrived on schedule at 8 p.m. and I was back at my apartment after a speedy cab ride at 8:50 p.m. A record. Good suitcase karma, I think.

After lots of research while I was in Phoenix, I discovered the cheapest way to get possessions down here is to bring them along as checked baggage. Continental charges $100 per 50-lb. bag. Compare that to the shipping cost through DHL, UPS, and the Mexican company Estafeta--all of whom charge about $260 for the same weight. So Continental's excess bag charge was a bargain. In fact, I'm impressed with Continental. From their Houston hub they have direct nonstop service to a number of Mexican cities that would normally require a connection through Mexico City. They fly to Aguascalientes, Villahermosa, Veracruz, Puebla, Queretaro, and others....all nonstop from Houston. Smart scheduling in my opinion.