Adventures with BOLT: My $800 Piece of Paper

There is a little piece of red, white and green paper that non-residents get upon entering mainland Mexico. It is the visitors permit. Not having this piece of paper was a costly mistake for Kathy and I. The paper is just handed to you when you exit the airport. It is not stapled into your passport or otherwise secured. It is easily lost or misplaced.

Kathy and I were on our way from Merida to Los Angeles for a quick trip to get the Covid vaccine. It is not available to non-residents here in Mexico. Reservations had been made, negative covid tests obtained and passports were in hand. I vaguely noticed I didn’t have the same paper Kathy had but was not very worried about it.

We flew from Merida to Mexico City without this permit. However, when I checked in for our Mexico City to Los Angeles flight, I was told I must have it to fly.

This seems to happen to a lot of people. I was sent downstairs to immigration where I was told “no problem”. I paid 600 Pesos (about $30 USD), signed a form saying I lost the paper and voila! I was on my way back to the American Airlines check in counter.

But…there was a problem, a big one! I was like five minutes past the check in time. Despite Kathy standing right there, boarding pass in hand, despite the plane still boarding with at least 30 minutes before takeoff, depsite my pleas and begs…I was not allowed to board.

Kathy went ahead as there was no sense in both of us missing our flight. Distraught I began to look for other flights. There was nothing left flying out that evening. It was only 8 pm and I was not comfortable spending the night in the airport terminal.

There are no actual hotels in the Mexico City airport but I found a moderately priced sleep pod.

I was unable to truly sleep but with Kathy’s help I got a flight our in the morning. I made it to Los Angeles, we got our first vaccination and are safely back in Merida.

Some expensive lessons were learned!

Check, double check and triple check that you have all necessary documents, no matter where you are traveling.

Allow yourself plenty of time between flights, especially if traveling to large international airports. In Mexico City we had to wait for and take trains between the terminals which was another reason I was late.

If at all possible, when you have missed a flight, allow the airline to rebook your travel. I booked on another airline which is not reimbursable and they cancel your round trip when you don’t allow the original airline to rebook you.

Sleep pods are nice clean places to rest, take care of business, etc. but NOT to sleep.

Missing a flight is not the end of the world. Stay calm, patient and focused and all shall be well.


4 thoughts on “Adventures with BOLT: My $800 Piece of Paper

  1. Wow! That was a lot! I never heard of sleep pods before. Are they in the airport?

    I’m glad you’all got it sorted!

    Take care my friends!
    – Verna


  2. Mexico does not play! When we flew back from Cuba through Mexico (2008), the Mexican airport authorities were so strict. USA customs officers in Tijuana, hella laid back. I am so glad you worked it out and kept your Spirit high. You two are amazing.


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