US Air says to get to the airport 3 hours ahead for international flights. And they aren’t kidding. It only takes these 9 easy steps, and I probably missed some. We got to the airport at 9:20 am for our 11:50 am flight.
1. Once off the “Leonardo Express”, which comes into Terminal 3, we had to take a shuttle to Terminal 5.
2. Stand in line for what we thought was check-in, but turns out it was just to have our passports checked.
3. Go stand in another line to check-in and deal with luggage.
4. Stand in line to go through security. Interestingly, no one takes their shoes off to go through security here.
5. Go through another passport check.
6. Get on another shuttle to get to the departure gates.
7. Stand in line to…we thought, board. They take our tickets, check our passports again.
8. I get pulled out of line for a pat down.
9. Get in line for another shuttle bus, which takes us out to the plane, on the tarmac, where we climb the stairs to the plane.
Plane is packed with school or church groups who find it highly amusing to press the call buttons repeatedly, plus the required number of crying babies and toddlers. Between the 4 of us we watch Amelia, Marley and Me, The Invention of Lying, The New Adventures of Old Christine, a Robin Williams comedy special.
At Philadelphia, we have the following steps:
1. Stand in line to have passports and customs cards checked.
2. Collect checked bags so we can haul them over to some guy who loads them into another conveyor.
3. Stand in line to have passports checked.
4. Get customs cards collected.
5. Stand in line to go through security. Remove shoes.
6. Stand in line for another passport check.
It was exhausting. We had what was supposed to be a 2 1/2 hour layover, and we barely had time to grab a bite to eat at the food court. I am checking my calendar now, hoping that I have nothing that involves standing in line for anything in the next month.