One of the reasons we prefer driving to flying, when possible, is that we prefer being on our own schedule and timetable, not those with other systems that are tech dependent where other people are in charge. I would rather drive 8 hours than fly one hour because it’s not just flying one hour. Here are notes on my recent trip, planned in advance, changed afterwards. And there’s usually a fee for that!
This trip was from SMA (San Miguel de Allende, Mexico) our current residence to our other residence in Tubac, AZ. My travel agent, bookkeeper and resident sage, S. booked my trip with my preferences and hers. She’s big on convenience, at least when possible, and affordable.
My driver from bajiogo.com picked me up at on Monday, 9/28, at 8 AM. Urbano and I hit the highway and we were off to the races to MEX, the Mexico City Airport, about a 3 hour trip, mostly on 4 lane toll roads but not all by any means. We varied from 80-85 mph on the open road to a snail’s crawl in heavy traffic on 2 lane roads. My departure on Delta was for 2:55 PM for SLC and then to TUC. Easy check-in, one bag, carrying a backpack and medical device on board. Paid little extra for a Comfort seat because at 6’2” the main cabin regular seating is not comfortable.
The Airbus 319 cruised about 540 mph for 3.5 hrs. to SLC arriving on time. Then it was a long walk to U.S. immigration then customs, a 2 hr. layover and another 1.5 hr flight to Tucson on an EMB 175, (Embraer, operated by SkyWest for Delta) arriving about 10:15 PM. Off to wait, wait for the re-checked bag, and then a long walk through the terminal to the Budget car rental where 2 agents had to wait until this last flight to give me my “surprise” car, a choice I made from the options offered on their web site. It turned out to be a Toyota Prius with 40,000 well driven miles. I got home about midnight. I left at 8 AM the previous day, thus a 17 hour trip.
We have driven this trip previously, about 1200 highway miles and spent about 20 hrs driving on good highways and 2 nights in hotels. It’s not about cost as it’s cheaper to drive with two. It is about convenience and time. And choices.
Now for the return trip, an abbreviated version. Left Tubac at 3:30 AM for a 4:30 AM car drop and check in at 5AM for a 6:04 AM departure. Same EMB175 that does the TUC/SLC routes every day. Only a 30 minute window to board and fly from SLC to MEX, hustle through large concourse in SLC and no wasted time. Same Airbus 319 only an even better seat, on the aisle in an Exit row, so much more leg room and more space than Comfort. Great service, some actual good food and drink, a chicken salad sandwich, and another 3.5 hr. smooth flight at 33,000 ft.534 mph, with a slight tailwind. The tv monitor in the seat has options for live tv, movies, wifi, or a flight tracker. Toward the end, I had another small plate of grapes, apricots, 2 kinds of cheese and nuts plus another drink and a yes to Delta for taking care of passengers.
Arrived in MEX along with a several other Delta flights from Minneapolis, Atlanta, LAX and Seattle. Got in line for MX immigration, passport stamped, fairly quick, then to wait, wait 30 minutes to collect bag, then through customs and Exit to wait, wait for another half hour, find driver, who was Urbano again, for return 3 hr. trip to SMA, getting home around 5:30 PM, total elapsed time of 14 hours. The difference was no layover time in SLC on return. Otherwise, about the same on all fronts.
Our next trip in two weeks is from SMA to MEX to JFK to ACK. ACK? That’s the FAA’s 3 digit code for Nantucket!