4:00am sure comes early! We were mostly packed, so we were checking out by 4:30am.
I saw no taxis on the road, so I think it would help to pre-arrange a taxi. In our case, the Swissotel shuttle bus drove us to the airport for $8 for all three of us. I think a taxi would have been $5-$7 anyway. This time, we are headed to the "international" terminal.
They aren’t lying about getting to the airport early. It took us almost 1 ½ hours to go through the process and board the airplane!
1. Inside the airport, you have to show your passports before you even get to the ticket counter.
2. At the ticket counter, they also give you a departure form for immigration control.
3. There is another counter to pay for the airport departure fee. This is $40.80/person (adults and children). There is an ATM machine right next to the desk, but it was broken, so my husband had to go back outside to a working ATM. It looks like there is a separate counter with a shorter line for paying for your departure fee with a Diners Club card.
4. Then you go upstairs through twisty rows of shops to security. You can take liquids through security and immigration, but not actually onto an airplane heading to the U.S.
5. After security is immigration where you show your passport and give them the form that you got at the check-in counter.
6. Through the gauntlet of duty-free shops and to a final checkpoint where they look in your carryon bags for liquids.
7. Finally, a long walk on the tarmac to the airplane.
All in all, we stood in 5 different lines. Luckily, we got our lattes by the ticket counter, so we were able to drink them before getting to the final checkpoint
FLIGHT TO HOUSTON AND DENVER:
Our flight to Houston was delayed 30 minutes because of fog. This is why it is good to have at least 2 hours between flights. We had to go through customs in Houston, and the delay might have caused us to miss our next flight if the connection time was too short….
It’s a 5-hour flight, and they served breakfast.
In Houston, we went through immigration, which went pretty quick. Then picked up our bags and went through customs. On the other side, we just put our bags back on a conveyor belt.
An hour of snacks and window shopping later, we were on our flight to Denver, which was another 2+ hours.
We had to scrape snow off our windshield in the Denver Airport parking lot. Take me back to the beaches of the Galapagos!!
I’m back in my traveling clothes that I got washed in Otavalo – long pants, light long sleeve shirt, and a jacket.
We bought large lattes at the Quito Airport for $2.30 each. My son wanted a hamburger at 5:00am (are you kidding me?). It was $5.50.
The flight from Quito to Houston served an egg/ham/cheese sandwich, fruit cup, and muffin.