Northwest Airlines really makes you pay the price when you cash in Frequent Flyer miles. I took a NWA flight out of Minneapolis to Tuscon, and then got handed off to to AeroLitoral and Aero Mexico. Got on the twin-engine puddle jumper you see in the photo. I had to land three times more in order to make it to Mazatlan.
First stop was Hermosillo (pronounced air-mo-SEE-yo). It’s straight south of Tuscon in the state of Sonora about 1-1/2 hours. I was confused and worried about my luggage getting passed through, about customs, and the language barrier and the lack of clear sinage in the airports.
Well, when we got to Hermosillo, I found some official-looking young man and told him I was going to Mazatlan. He asked me if I was coming from Tuscon, and as I was, he directed me through Customs. So I filled out all of the requisite paperwork and got my passport stamped and all that. I thought I was going to have to get my luggage and have it inspected there, but instead he directed me to the gate area. After a 3-hour layover and some anxiety about whether I would find the right flight, I ended up on another puddle jumper and headed for Los Mochis, which is again almost straight south and in the state of Sinaloa (same as Mazatlan). Finally, after one more hop, I was in Mazatlan.
By the way, these small aircraft are SAAB 340Bs and carry maybe 36 passengers. There is one row of seats along the port side of the craft, and two seats along the starboard side. Kind of cozy. Fun to fly in, really. They are very responsive–kind of like a rally suspension on a sports car–you can feel every gust of wind and bump along the way.
I go to get my luggage and find—get this—it’s the second bag on the conveyor. Usually I feel like my bag is always the second-last bag. ☺ So I am preparing my story about how my wife must have put that sausage in my suitcase as a surprise and that I had no idea it was there. I show the Customs agent my paperwork from Hermosillo. She sees that I have already passed through Customs, so she waves me right through. No stop light button to push—nothing. I walked right in. Could have been carrying guns and dope!