Friday, June 22, 2007

Breaking: Cabo's Airport to Be Less Scary

If you want a true test of friendship, take a vacation to Cabo San Lucas with a flight that departs from San Jose Del Cabo Airport.

I specify “departing” because upon arrival at the airport, you might be inclined to think it’s quite quaint. For instance, instead of disembarking into a tunnel that leads you into the airport, you instead step off the plane and onto a flight of stairs that leads you directly to the tarmac. Not only do get to feel like a celebrity disembarking a private jet, you’re also automatically greeted by Cabo’s fresh, warm air, a welcome respite from the freezing and likely germ-infested airplane air you’ve been inhaling for the last six hours.

That cuteness fades when you arrive for your departure, as Ilyse and I found on our trip back in March. Ready to get the fuck out of Mexico, our eager spirit was dampened when we saw the long—and I mean wrap-around-the-block loooooong—lines at check in. Turns out, the wait was due to the fact that the electronic check in systems were down, so employees had to name-check passengers on computer paper I swear was printed by a Commodore 64 and then hand-write tickets for boarding and baggage claim.

Well, stuff happens, we calmly told ourselves. Ilyse even went out of her way to joke with Ricardo at check in, “So, when was the last time you had to hand write a ticket—1982?” “Nope,” Ricardo somberly replied. “Just last week. This happens a lot.” Oh.

Handwritten tickets in hand, we passed through security and into the claustrophobia inducing waiting area, where 600 or so passengers were crammed in, waiting to board their long-delayed flights, which were seemingly delayed just for fun, as the weather in Cabo only gets as bad as partly cloudy. Food choices were limited to Burger King, nachos or personal pizzas; we opted for the latter, which I later discovered was an egregious mistake of which I’ll spare you the details.

Feeling ill makes me very cranky and poor Ilyse, already at the end of her rapidly fraying rope, had to put up with my whininess. Because of the mysterious delay, we missed our connection (although we only found this out after running the marathon through DFW), forcing us to spend the night in Dallas and thus swear off Mexico for the rest of our lives.

Thankfully, I’ve just got word that the Los Cabos Tourism Board has planned to upgrade its shotty airport, adding a new terminal and parallel landing strips for quicker departures, among other things (hopefully larger bathrooms with toilets that actually flush are also part of the plan). The hope is that these enhancements will “ensure visitors’ comfort and ease of safe travel upon arrival and/or departure in keeping with the destination’s upscale appeal.”

All I can say is, Los Cabos Tourism Board, you’ve got a lot of work to do.

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