Wednesday, July 31, 2013

(the long version of the airport saga)

People often opine about illegal immigration—however, legal immigration through Houston International Airport is quite difficult.  We had an hour and seventeen minutes between touch down and take off.  We soon found out that thousands of people had the same time schedule and there were approximately 2.5 people working at immigration. Next time, I am pushing Travel and Transport a little more because 30 minutes is not enough time to get through immigration. 

Fortunately Kris had the idea to pay extra to get us toward the front of the plane instead of the last row.  So worth it!  We sprinted our first leg of the race between the airplane and immigration.  Long lines. Not enough workers. We waited. Moved to another lane. Stalled.  Moved to another lane. Waited more.  Finally got through…… and………. Maia and I began the second leg of the relay.  Sprinting between immigration and baggage claim.  Maia grabbed the suitcases off the carousel and pushed them toward me.  I caught them and pushed them down toward the customs lane. Then, we just left our bags at baggage check…. And the race continued.

Maia and I took the lead with Kris and Anna close behind.  We raced past babies in strollers and people in wheelchairs only to stand in another line for TSA security.  We caught our breath, took off our shoes, politely told another person that they could not cut in front of us while we smugly knew the inside lane was faster. We gathered our stuff, carried our shoes and ran toward the shuttle.  I put my shoes on while riding the escalator up, Kris ran through the airport barefoot (I wish I had taken pictures or video).

As we disembarked the shuttle towards terminal C—Maia and Anna nearly wiped out an airline pilot waiting for the shuttle.  He looked at them with awe at their blazing speed (or was it irritation?)  The girls used their long legs to sprint the final leg of the airport and with the finish line in sight, the gate agent hollered out “Omaha?” and the girls yelled back “Yes!!” and then started cheering.

The gate agent had to open the cabin door for us and Maia said, “no matter what anybody says, an hour for international arrival is NOT ENOUGH!!”  As we boarded the plane, clearly trying to catch our breath, the baton was passed to the pilots to take us home.  Leon the flight attendant had an empty beer can and I asked how many of those he had left for us.  He promptly gave us all a glass of much needed water.

The cabin doors are closed.

Nope…. They are open again….. four more people boarded the plane after having a similar race as we did. 

There were still eight passengers left behind.

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