Monday, September 17, 2007

Frequent Fliers

You know how they say you should get to the airport 2 hours before an international flight? Actually, it might even be 3 hours now. We've always thought that was a little silly. We were wrong. We arrived at the airport at 7:45 a.m. for our 9:30 flight. We walked onto the plane at 9:27. Along the way, we were foiled by: the new curbside check-in rule that doesn't allow international check-ins, the cancelled United flight and subsequent 100 people in front of us in line, our 9 bags which magically all weighed either exactly 50 pounds or 1/2 pound over (except the one we intentionally overpacked) the 200 people going through security, and the suspicious looking bag of craisins in Ethan's backpack.

And then we waited on the runway for an hour, because it's more exciting to make connecting flights when you have less time.

We waited for about 5 minutes in Chicago to board our next flight which we assumed was going to Tokyo. Sad to admit, I was looking forward to the selection of movies on the plane. United's in flight entertainment isn't up to Northwest's, as Ethan will be quick to tell you, but at least you have some choices. Or should I say, normally you do? No individual viewing screens on this flight, which caused Ethan some moments of intense grief. On top of that, our headsets didn't work and the screen was messed up so it was like watching a negative of something. Good thing we brought books.

About an hour into the flight, Erik and I had this conversation:
"Hey, I thought we were going through Toyko."
(Erik) "We are."
"Well, why do they keep talking about Hong Kong?"
"We get off in Toyko and this plane goes on to Hong Kong."
(Me, pause.) "Then why are they passing out arrival cards for Hong Kong?"
(Erik, pause.) "Yeah, um, I guess we're going to Hong Kong."
Well, we knew we were on the right flight obviously, but now we had to make the mental shift to a 15 hour flight instead of 12. Partway through I became so overwhelmed by the idea that I would be on a plane that long that I considered freaking out and demanding that they land the plane. Then I thought better of it because something like that would be known around the world and I would be forever shamed. That was 8 1/2 hours in. We had 6 1/2 to go.

Why not sleep, you ask? Ah, well, I am genetically programmed to only sleep horizontally in a comfortable, quiet, and dark environment. That's why I would like to fly Air Force One, so I can sleep in that big bed they show in the movies about it.

No flight to or from Asia would be complete without at least one American male who tries to teach someone else Mandarin in a cringe inducing, toneless way. We got that out of the way during our layover in Hong Kong.

All of our luggage arrived safely, we piled into a Maxicab (a large taxi here that they really need to rename) and drove to our new apartment. Our friends had pulled out bedding for us and stocked our fridge a bit so we could just drop into bed, another 6,000 miles logged.


Andrew said...

sounds awesome--at least your luggage wasn't lost.

but i'm confused... did you have to pay extra for those bags that were over the weight limit? or did you repack them in the airport? orrrr did they just let you get by because it was only 1/2 over?

Gina Marie said...

No, there was no repacking - all the bags were at the max weight. We intentionally packed one bag with 70 pounds, because from 51-70 pounds it's $50 extra. Then the extra bag itself was $117 extra. The bags that were 1/2 pound over she let go. One was even 53.5 and she let that go too. I think she just wanted to get us through.