The line is How long?
No wonder the airline says to be there 4 hours prior to departure! Our flight was to be at 11:50 pm, so we thought 3+ hours in advance would be PLENTY!
Standing on our front porch, ready for the next adventure . . . waiting for Renee to collect us.
We arrived at LAX sometime around 8:30. Refused to pay the $8 to use a cart, so I manhandled the two big suitcases, each of which had a carry-on perched on top. You can see the narrow aisle to the left, which soon filled with harried travelers trying to get to the check-in.
You can see way far away the signs (with the red square in the middle), which signaled the start of the actual “queue” for check-in. It took us 2 hours to get there! Thinking we were finally going to get on the plane, we encountered 2 new hurdles:
- We needed to complete a 6-page E-check form (on our phones no less)
- We were, according to the gate clerk, supposed to have a VISA, because our return flight was further out than 30 days.
We finally got the E-check form completed and thought we were gold. Not to be: she took our passports and said she couldn’t let us on the plane without a visa. I tried to explain to her that I’d called the Philippine Embassy no less than 10 times, emailed them at least that many times and had no response.
Still, she wasn’t relenting and insisted that without a visa, we weren’t getting on the plane. She finally took our passports again to a supervisor, who reluctantly said we’d have to deal with Immigration in Manila. She predicted we’d have to rebook tickets for a less-than-30 day departure.
After 15 hours in the air, we arrived Manila at about 5:30 am on the 24th (Wednesday). Immigration looked at our passports and tickets and said, “We can only give you a 30 day visa – is that OK?” Not. One. Issue. With. Our. Tickets!
We’ve heard since arriving here that it isn’t uncommon for LAX workers to be overboard on their interpretation of many rules . . .
Seems we have a lot to learn!