Overnight Airport Stays

I’m sitting on the (fortunately clean) floor of Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport. (Yes, of course, the “Liberty” part was added post 9-11 because the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania that horrible day left from this airport.) The weather is perfect, so that’s not why I’m being held back here. It’s just that I didn’t make my connection to Montréal due to dumb luck.

That reminds me that I didn’t mention earlier that the same thing almost happened on my way to Mexico. Not that my flight leaving was horribly early; I just slept in nonetheless. The first thing I noticed as I glanced at the alarm clock was that it was 9:35 am or so and my flight was leaving exactly an hour later. Panic struck immediately as I dashed naked to the bathroom, resigning myself to the idea I would not shave nor shower before crossing the continent, if that was even going to happen …which I wasn’t convinced at that point. But luckily, I managed to get another flight with Continental and made my connection to Mexico City with plenty of time to spare. I guess that’s the plus side of having a five-hour stop between two international flights.

Today, however, the situation is reversed. Esposo and I were on top of it this morning, reaching Terminal 2 of Benito Juárez International with time to spare. Bag checked in, we even had time for some lunch together. But the problem was that once I landed in Newark (on time, I should mention), I got caught in a whirlwind of shitty luck. Although I had an hour an a half to make my connection once off the plane from Mexico City, and despite running to the customs area, I got caught in a long lineup that included passengers from a massive Air India jet. But what busted the tight schedule is that once I got in the line for a specific customs agent, the two young ladies in front of me — the first likely from a Caribbean nation and the second definitely from Mexico — each had an impossible story that took 10 minutes EACH for the agent to process. When I got up to his desk, he was done with me in 45 seconds since I was merely a Canadian transiting through …but it was too late. The damage was done.

By the time I found my baggage and hauled it from Terminal B to C, I was told there was no way my luggage would make it with me to Montréal tonight. However, if I ran like hell, I should be able to get on the flight. Except getting through security was, again, tediously slow and that finished me off. At 9:03 I reached the gate for my flight due to leave at 9:15 and there wasn’t a soul in sight at the gate boarding area, and the sign by the gate indicated “Boarding — On Time, 9:15.” I looked at the microphone for the PA system but thought twice, not wanting to get arrested anywhere, let alone the United States. I finally flagged down a Continental employee, but she confirmed I was shit out of luck.

The result? Continental booked me for the next flight out …tomorrow at 8:15 am, from Terminal A where I am now, and gave me a $12 food voucher. By 11:00 pm at the airport, though, not much is opened. In fact, all I could get is some Burger King, which I don’t particularly like, but the sandwich given to me on the plane was far, far away. So, long story short, I should be back in the Montréal abode around 11:00 tomorrow morning.

What is it with me returning from Mexico, huh? Last time I ended up spending the night at the Toronto airport due to a snow storm. This time, it’s a too-close connection that wasn’t THAT too-close except if you happen to run out of luck as I did tonight. It makes me wonder, though, if transiting through the States is worth it. Or, really, if I should conclude that an hour and 45 minutes between flights from Mexico to Canada via the USA, even with the same airline, is definitely not enough even though that option was given online when I purchased the ticket.

So, in the end, it will have taken me 26 hours door-to-door. Yay! I guess that’s the kind of thing a married guy just does to be with his husband. 🙂

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