Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
The day started quite early as is always the case when leaving Guyana. My flight was the 05:35 Caribbean Air flight. Normally the motor pool driver would pick me up at about 02:30 or a little earlier. Today, there was another person leaving, so they talked me into a 03:00 pick up. The driver and the other passenger arrived at 02:50. As the driver was loading my luggage he told me we had to pick up one other couple. That got my stomach tied up in knots because it usually takes about an hour to get to the airport.
At about 03:00 we arrived at the other couple’s house. As the driver backed into the driveway he said, “Oh shucks! I’m getting a flat!” He got out and opened the rear hatch. Now I started to get really nervous since the time was ticking. The driver closed the hatch and got back in the Suburban. He told the guard to let the residents know we would be right back. He told us the tire was not completely flat, so he was going to drive back to the embassy and switch vehicles.
Off we went! Luckily it is only about two miles from where we were.
When we arrived at the embassy, the driver parked the Suburban in front. He walked into the compound to get another vehicle while we stayed outside. By this time the left front tire was completely flat. We removed our bags and waited. Soon the driver emerged from the compound. We loaded up and began the drive back to the house.
We arrived at the house and picked up the residents. As we departed I nervously glanced at the clock on the dash, 03:28.
Even though our progress was hampered by the occasional large truck doing 25 mph, the driver got us to the airport in just about 40 minutes.
As I walked into the terminal building I was astonished at how many people were in the small airport. That was due to the relatively short time before departure and the fact that Caribbean Airlines had two flights taking off within 25 minutes of each other. I went to the shortest line and got checked-in fairly quickly. About 40 minutes later I was on the plane.
We took off right on time. We landed at Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago a short 55 minutes later.
There are many things in this world I don’t understand. One of them is how passengers arriving at Port of Spain from Georgetown are treated. In Georgetown, to get into the waiting area, one must pass through a full body scanner. In addition, shoes and bags must go through an X-ray machine. That is all very similar to the U.S. However, upon landing, all Georgetown passengers are screened again. That is what I don’t understand.
After getting off the plane, one is in the concourse area of the airport. That is the “secure” portion of the airport. Instead of being allowed to sit and wait for the connecting flight (which is always the same plane parked at the same gate) one is forced to be screened again. One could argue that is a security flaw since the screening only consists of a metal detector and an X-ray machine. Since there is not a full body scanner, there is a possibility that dangerous, non-metallic items could be introduced to a passenger and be brought into the secure area undetected.
When I made it to the end of the screening line, I was surprised that it was easily 100 meters to the screening area. That did not count the zig zag portion of the line. The line inched along at a painfully slow pace. By the time I got back into the concourse I only had about 25 minutes to wait to board the flight to Miami.