On Time, Every Time

The airport bombing in Belgium took place on the very morning me and a couple of others were flying back from Mexico. If you read my article on planning layovers, you know that I’m generally a fan of them. (Unlike most travelers.) Despite the fact that it was on the other side of the world and we actually had no knowledge of it at the time, the Brussels bombing gave me yet another reason to like long layovers.

The airport in Mexico was bustling but largely uneventful. There was no indication of what was in store for us.

We had a layover of only a little over an hour in Fort Lauderdale. Because our connection switched from an international flight to a domestic one, we had to retrieve our checked bags, go through Customs and Immigration then back through security to board our next flight.

True to form, there was super security paranoia at all US airports.

Our flight had a good tailwind and arrived more than 20 minutes ahead of schedule. However, thanks to the extra long lines and extra security measures, what was nearly a 90 minute layover turned into literally running to make our next flight.

We waited for our luggage. (Because, we found out later, every bag was screened by TSA as it came off the plane. Mine was opened and searched.)

We waited for Customs.

We waited for Immigration.

Being screened at airport security

Being screened at airport security

We really really waited for the security check to get to the domestic departure gates.

I was pulled aside and frisked.

My daughter’s friend Virginia was pulled out for “special screening”. They unpacked all her bags and tested every item for gun powder and explosives residue.

To his credit, the TSA agent was professional and tried his best to be polite. He wanted to repack Virginia’s bag after he had unpacked it. I stepped forward, thanked him for his intent but explained that our flight was leaving in 7 minutes and we would happily repack the bag ourselves.

We literally ran to the gate.

All this just goes to show that MINIMUM layover you ever want is one hour. Events on the other side of the world, unrelated to you, and of which you have no knowledge at the time, can completely derail your travel itinerary.

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