Our flight out of Houston was scheduled for 4:55pm and Gary scheduled his Global Entry for 1:45pm, so we needed to be at the airport and checked in by 1:30pm. His appointment was inside Terminal E after security so we needed a boarding pass to get in. There is also an office outside in the baggage claim area, but that one is usually booked solid. We arrived at the United counter with plenty of time, but that’s when things when south.
When I had called and booked the flights, I had called the United 1K number and the agent told me the flight would actually be on a sister airline, Avianca. The Avianca airlines counter is in Terminal D, which is a hike when we each had two large bags and two carry-ons each. By the time we got to Avianca, we had missed Gary’s appointment. Now the other thing that happened that was never mentioned when I booked the flights is that Avianca requires a round trip ticket. Apparently, if Colombian immigration asks to see our exit strategy and we do not have one, the airline can be fined, so they require a roundtrip. Normally this would not be a big deal, but after hauling a ton of luggage to another terminal while trying to make the appointment in time, I wasn’t in the mood to be told last minute that I had to have a return flight.
After arguing back and forth with the agent, Gary purchased a cheap ticket from Medellin to Houston with the intention to cancel it within 24 hours. I told the agent to buy me a full price, fully refundable, fully changeable, business class ticket. Gary purchased his on the app and it took all of about a minute. Mine ended up taking another 20 minutes because they had just implemented a new purchasing software and she was unfamiliar with it. After holding up the line for a good 40 minutes, I ended up buying mine through the app also. The agent and I also both calmed down and were actually joking around with each other.
After getting the bags checked and through security, we passed right by the Global Entry office on the way to the United Club. Gary decided to see if they could squeeze him in. The lady at the office was more than nice and he still got his Global Entry completed.
The start of this trip was a prequel to the rest of the trip and the move to Colombia. We will soon find out, that nothing is easy.