Monday, October 19, 2020

putting your papers in order


One of the adventures of flying in these virus days is the addition of paperwork.

Passengers flying into and out of Playa de Oro International Airport (the official moniker of the Manzanillo air strip) are now required to fill out a form attesting they are symptom-free of the virus. Their temperature is then taken to verify at least one of the questions on the form.

For those on outbound flights, that is done inside the terminal before checking in with the respective airline. (Holders of permanent and temporary resident cards still go to immigration first to obtain their hall pass.)

For international passengers, the same process is conducted under the awning of the terminal before entering the airport. And that is what this essay is all about.

The health folks have tried to make the process as painless as possible. They have provided tables and pens to complete the forms that are handed out to each passenger. But there is only a limited amount of space, and it is just one more bottleneck in Mexico's bracing Fall weather.

When I was at the airport on my latest trip north, I asked the health representative if I could have an extra form to share with anyone who may be interested in one. But before I could finish this essay, Linda Bello Ruiz published one on a local Facebook page. I decided to use her version.

My suggestion for those of you who are flying internationally into Mexico is to print out this form, fill it in, and have it ready to hand to the temperature-taking crew.

I do not know if this will speed up the process of getting through the health line to stand in the immigration line. I have two caveats.

The first is that the health folks have started making their process more efficient by filling in a portion of the form in advance. If you copy off the form, you will need to fill in the information that is already completed in the form passengers will receive upon arrival.

I do not know if that will be a problem. Just be ready for the possibility that you may be asked to fill in a second form. And accept it with a thankful smile.

The second caveat is that filling out the form in advance may not save you any time. Passengers will line up in the order they came off of the plane. Having a completed form in hand will probably not move you along any faster. There is no express queue for folks with completed forms.

I know what you are thinking right now. It certainly would be more efficient if the forms were distributed to the airlines for distribution with the immigration and customs forms. But they are not.

And what is really lost by standing in line? Maybe a little time. But there will still be the waiting for immigration and luggage.

Print the form if you like. But maybe waiting in line will be a good transition moment to exercise the virtue of patience -- a virtue best exercised in these villages by the sea.

See you soon.


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