Steve and I finally got to use the new(ish) cross-border footbridge that enables pedestrians to walk from San Diego (Otay Mesa) to Tijuana’s international airport, and what a pleasure that was. The last time we flew out of TJ was decades ago, and I’m sure we did it because the fares on Aeromexico were cheaper. I remember the whole experience as nightmarish. First you had to drive to the border and cross it, then grind on for what felt like ages through bad slums and poorly designed roads. The terminal itself was dingy and jammed with endless lines of travelers schlepping gigantic suitcases and other paraphernalia. Steve remembers seeing ripe, discarded baby diapers and other trash strewn on the terminal floor.
What we saw on this departure was almost unimaginably different — spotless marble floors, good lighting, comfy waiting areas, tempting food choices. Best of all was getting to the Tijuana terminal. Our friend Alberto gave us a lift from our house to the clean modern building on the US side of the border (quite close to where Trump’s big, beautiful, wall prototypes were erected.) It took us just minutes to buy our one-way tickets ($20 per person) to walk across the bridge and obtain our Mexican visas (from a high-tech kiosk). We scanned the bridge ticket and our boarding pass at a gate that opened for us automatically. Then we strolled over and above that pesky border between the two countries. The passage couldn’t have taken even five minutes.
Emerging into the Mexican facility, we joined a line that briskly moved through immigration and customs to emerge in the spiffy terminal, steps away from the VIP Lounge. We could use it because we get free Priority Passes with our Chase Sapphire credit cards.
When I was shopping for flights to Mexico City, I was startled to learn that NONE depart from San Diego. Now I understand why. The carriers out of Tijuana compete ferociously. (We paid just $67 per person for the three-hour-plus flight, and I have friends who’ve snagged $70 round-trip bargains occasionally.) Even adding on the bridge-crossing fee, it feels like a great deal. Being able to saunter across the border as we did, one could almost glimpse a different, brighter future.
If only the rest of our transits on this trip are as smooth and stress-free….