The day started very relaxed, waking up underneath our favorite tree close to the airport of Madrid. Our flight was at 1 p.m. so we had all the time in the world to walk to the airport with Lewis’ carrier on the trolley. Even though we tested flying with Lewis when going to Belgium and back, we were still a bit nervous as the Internet warned us that flying to Mexico with a dog wouldn’t be easy. Some websites even recommend booking an agent in Mexico to help us through the process. With our small budget and faith that everything would be all right, we decided to just see what happened.
Well, this is what happened.
It started with a long queue in Madrid and two friends from Antwerp joining us halfway, helping us with our mission to constantly move one meter while keeping all our bags and Lewis’ carrier together. When we finally arrived at the check-in counter the fun really started. ‘Did you pay for the dog?’ asked the guy in Pullmantur-airline-uniform. ‘No, we called the airline in advance and they clearly stated that we didn’t have to pay as long as Lewis and his carrier didn’t exceed the 80 kg baggage weight we were allowed to have together.’ After he had consulted his superiors he agreed with us and asked for our return ticket as proof of getting out of Mexico. Proof for getting out of Mexico? We never heard of this stupid regulation. It seemed like the stress for Lewis being able to fly to Mexico was suddenly turned to us. Our friends, Jim and Stefan had the same problem but luckily they did book a flight back home in advance and only had to find it somewhere on their computer. In the meantime we were sent away from the counter, with some kind words allowing us to skip the queue when we solved our problem. Great.
Apparently Mexico needs to know that you are not staying in their country for the rest of your life. A bus ticket, a flight, any proof of your exit within six months is allowed. The first thing we tried to do, on the slow internet, with only 20 minutes Wi-Fi for each device, was trying to find a bus ticket. This was a no-go as Mexico is far behind on technology and doesn’t sell tickets online. We started to feel hopeless when Stefan asked ‘Why don’t you just change the names on our tickets?’ I felt like I had never heard an idea this good in my entire life, so we decided to see if his brilliant plan would work. We forwarded the email to our account, changed the date and names and showed it without blinking and with a big smile at the check-in. ‘Where are the names?’ he asked, and we showed him our names on the fake flight info. ‘Okay, thanks.’ he said and on our way to Mexico we were!
A crewmember escorted us to the special drop-off for Lewis. Last time we were allowed to join him through a private luggage-check but this time the guards seemed in a bad mood and felt like sending us all the way to the other side of the terminal for the regular check. In the meantime the clock was still ticking and the gate would be closing soon. When we arrived at a fast pace at our gate there hadn’t been any need for stress, they announced that the flight was delayed for an hour.
The flight itself went super smooth, especially when we realised once more that we had only paid 145 euros for our tickets. It even included 2 meals and a personal TV screen. Hallelujah! We switched chairs with the couple sitting next to our friends so we were able to entertain the whole row, singing along to an awesome iPhone music quiz app.
Without sleeping on the plane, we arrived in Mexico, finally a new continent to discover. We were excited to see Lewis again and hoped he was doing okay. He arrived on the luggage belt, which was kind of funny. Luckily we were there on time so he didn’t have to keep making circles on the belt. The next stop was the customs declaration. A small Mexican guy with a legendary moustache walked towards us with the biggest smile ever, taking all our nerves for what would happen next away. There was just one little moment of stress when he asked us the address of the hotel where we were going to stay at, but we quickly solved that by naming a random hostel on a well-known street. A few stamps, some copying of papers and many signatures later we officially did it! We made it to Mexico with a dog.