Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Flying

7:55AM - Flying
This morning at 7:55am, a few members of the TiogaRV Team will take off from Mexico City on an American Airlines flight bound for Los Angeles, California. This is a non-stop flight. So, sometime during the 10 O'clock hour [Pacific time], we will be landing at LAX [abbreviation for Los Angeles International Airport].

We will pickup a rental beast from Avis Rent-a-Car and drive to San Diego. When we come to the City of Irvine, we plan to make a stop at a store named, 4G Wireless. This store is a Verizon distributor. At 4G Wireless, we hope to our get Verizon Pantech USB stick activated so that we will have internet access during our trip in California.

Explanation:
This Verizon Pantech activation thing deserves an explanation. You see, last year when we bought this Verizon USB stick, Verizon promised that if we paid off the plan for the stick early, not only would we own the stick, but that it would be simple to activate the stick for pay-as-you-go on any return trips to the United States.

However, when we attempted to do the promised reactivation, Verizon said, "No!" Because a certain amount of time lapsed. We would now have to go to a Verizon store to do this reactivation. Also, we would have to pay a $35 fee as well.

Wonderful!

8:30AM - Jorge typing at you from the airplane!
Guess what? There is an internet connection onboard the airplane! I kid you not! Would you like to know about the interesting experience we had this morning? Hmmmm? And how we almost missed our airplane flight?

OK! Here is the story! It all began around 6:45pm this morning, when we arrived at the airport for our 7:55am flight.......


6:45AM - Late!
I figured that arriving at the airport 1 hour and 15 minutes before scheduled take-off would be enough. Not when things go wrong!

First thing that went slightly wrong was that I did not recognize that I was flying Alaska Airlines, because my reservation thru Cheap Tickets indicated American Airlines. So I go to the American ticket counter and the guy asks, "Where are going?" I tell him Los Angeles and he tells me 
that we do not go to Los Angeles. You must check-in with Alaska which is not too far away.

The guy at Alaska tells me, "You are late. We closed the ticket counter for your flight 1/2 hour ago. You will have to run". And he gives me an Mexican immigration form to fill out. So, I think to myself, "Jorge, if you miss this flight, you miss it. Don't get upset."

I am walking as fast as I am able, and come to the Mexican inspection point. Several people are in front of me waiting to put their things on the belt. I am fumbling with the immigration form while trying to get my stuff on the belt. I get thru inspection, and the guy says to me, "Do you have a 
computer and camera in this bag?" I answer, "Yes" and he takes the camera and computer back thru inspection! Lord!

Finally I am thru inspection, and heading toward Boarding Gate #34 which turns out to me about a 1/4 mile from inspection. When I get to Gate #34, the guy tells me, "Immigration did not stamp your form. You got to go back and get it stamped." What? Me go back? I am bushed! I cannot walk all the way back there! The guy says, "Somebody will drive you." He gets a guy driving a green electric car to drive me. We get to the place where they are stamping these forms and I see a line with maybe 100 people waiting for their stamp. 

I go to the head of the line thinking to ask permission to cut in. Suddenly the guy from the airline is there. He is the guy who hailed the green electric cart for me. He asks the stamping guy if we could cut in. He says OK. And the people in line say OK too.

Now we have the form stamped. But the guy driving the green electric cart is gone. We have to walk. The airline guy grabs my suitcase and bag and tells me that there is plenty time. You are with me. We will make it back on time. So, we are walking and walking and walking. Fast too! Finally we are back at Gate #34. I am sweating like crazy. But the airplane is still there. It has not left the gate!


I gave the airline guy 200 pesos for his help. I find my seat and remove my sweat shirt to cool off.

I made the flight!

11AM - Avis Rent-a-Car
Well, I am Avis. And there is a glitch in my car reservation. I only use debit cards. And Avis runs a credit check for debit cards. Equifax, the credit reporting company rejected me! Can you imagine that?

So, Avis finds me a car rental company that rents without a credit check. I am at Sakura Rent-a-Car right now. And it looks like I will get a rental beast from Sakura. Only thing is, that instead of paying $375 for two weeks, I pay $743. Hmmmm?

Guess that I have to get myself a credit card.

6PM - Heritage Inn
We have just checked into our room at the Heritage Inn in the City of San Diego. Everything is unpacked, and the room is OK.

We were unable to obtain internet service from the Verizon store that we went to this afternoon. Apparently Verizon is in the middle of a big plan change at this time. Verizon's computer system would not accept anything, according the store. However, the Heritage Inn has internet access, so we are able to let you know what is going on.

We also need to get cell phone service. We want to use our Samsung cell phone that we used in Mexico. A SIM card must be purchased. We are working on that!