Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Alexis-Mexico City, Mexico: Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (POS) to Mexico City, Mexico (MEX) II

16APR08 Piarco International, Port of Spain Trinidad and Tobago (POS)
I arrived at Piarco International Airport at approximately 5:30 a.m.; later than I had planned to, but a good time to arrive because there were only a few people in the line. I was all checked in by 5:45a with enough time to get something to eat before my 6:20a boarding time. I went through to departures at 6:05a.

I was surprised to see personnel at the departure tax booth as earlier this month it had been announced that departure tax would be included in the price of the ticket. I was asked which airline; when told American, the agent waived me through. So I am guessing that not all airlines have been collecting the departure tax necessitating this continued manual collection. After going through security I had only about five minutes before boarding began. I was in Group 2 so I was on board fairly quickly and settled in.

AA1818 16APR08 Piarco International, Port of Spain Trinidad and Tobago (POS) to Miami International, Miami FL (MIA) 7:05a 11:05a 757

Seat Map

As the flight was not full boarding was completed in a short time. At 6:53a, twelve minutes before the 7:05a scheduled departure, the captain announced that we were waiting only on the final loading of cargo and luggage and we would be on our way. Five minutes later we pushed back.

On taxi out we crossed the runway at the intersection. The terminal at Piarco is north of the runway and the parallel taxiway does not go all the way to the end so an aircraft has to cross and taxi down the south taxiway to get to the runway threshold for departure. Just as our aircraft got to the end of the taxiway, a DHL Boeing 727 from Venezuela landed and we taxied onto the runway. I watched as DHL turned on the runway and taxied back to exit to the south ramp. At the same time a Caribbean Airlines (BW) Dash 8 crossed at the intersection. Then we began our take-off roll. As we went by the south ramp I noted with some satisfaction that DHL was already at its gate and applauded the efficiency of the controller on duty.

This is a good time to indicate that I am an air traffic controller working at the Piarco Control Tower and the Piarco Area Control Centre. I am also the deputy president on the executive board of the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA). It is in this capacity that I am off to Mexico City to attend the IFALPA conference and the ICAO workshop I mentioned previously.

The flight to Miami went by rather quickly – I could not get any power from the power port so decided not to use my computer; and the movie was August Rush, which played on each leg of my journey to Arusha, Tanzania last month to attend our own (IFATCA’s) annual conference – so I spent the flight reading most of the American Way magazine.

Miami International, Miami FL (MIA)
We arrived early – 10:50 a.m. – as the captain had promised. Immigration was rather slow I found and I did not clear customs and rechecked my bags until 11:40 a.m. I spent some time in the bookstores searching, unsuccessfully, for a book I wanted before going through security at 12:20p. My gate was C7 and I got there at 12:38p. Again boarding went smoothly and doors were closed by 1:25 p.m.

AA2177 16APR08 Miami International, Miami FL (MIA) to Mexico City International, Mexico City Mexico (MEX) 1:40p 4:05p 738

Flying Time: 3:10
Seat Map
We took a while to leave the gate - I actually had time to start writing this entry on my computer - but were airborne quickly after pushback with only a short taxi to the runway. At 2:26 p.m. the captain apologised for the short delay in leaving Miami and indicated that with a flying time of 3:10 we should be arriving in Mexico City at 4:10 p.m.

Lucky me! The movie again is August Rush, but the power port is working so I can use my computer. I have a lot of reading to catch up on and several documents to write so I can get a start on that right now as soon as I fill out my Immigration and Custom forms and finish the Sudoku I started in the American Way.

Mexico City International, Mexico City Mexico (MEX)

So after an uneventful, but productive flight, I arrived in Mexico City just after 4 pm local time. We had a bit of a wait for a gate position and after disembarking, there was a long walk to immigration and customs, which was over with very quickly and I was officially in Mexico.

I hope my return goes as smoothly.

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