Today I finally realized that travelling by air through the United States and to some African countries, has jaded my expectations of the airport/airline experience, in a wholly negative way. I secretly expect:
- My luggage will not be fully intact when I receive it (scratches, dents, tears, missing pieces and/or missing luggage);
- Chaos and confusion when going through the immigration line (whether one is a citizen of the country or not, is not indicative of the level of dysfunction one may experience);
- Lost baggage (I know I already said this but it bears repeating…Delta and Air India, please take note);
- A time consuming and generally frustrating process.
Welcome to Quito International Airport in Ecuador, the complete opposite of everything I described. Our flight landed at about 11pm and we arrived in a beautiful, clean, brightly lit international terminal where we were welcomed by a huge bouquet of fresh long-stem and beautiful red roses (Ecuador is a major exporter of flowers). We also got our first view of the city.
Ecuador essentially has an open border policy getting our passports stamped, our bags out of baggage claim and through customs took a total of 20 minutes (mostly because we were the last ones off the plane and the immigration had to get more immigration forms for us to fill out.
Our flight out of Quito to Cuenca was the following morning, so for overnight accommodation I chose to stay at the Sheraton Quito for a couple of reasons:
- Airport Shuttle – I just spent the last 19 hours on the road/in the sky with an 8 year-old who was tired and cranky after the last flight. The driver was waiting for us front and center as soon as we exited the arrival area, with a large sign that would be hard for anyone to miss. He had my name on a pre-printed list, took our baggage and walked us out to the shuttle van.
- Known Entity – Because of our arrival time, I did not want to worry about what type of place we would be staying in and the level of service. Sheraton was a great choice. The staff were friendly, multi-lingual, and the complimentary toothpaste in our bathroom was awesome.
Below is a slide show of our room, breakfast ($17 for all you can eat buffet and kids eat free) and the view of Quito from our window.