Monday, December 28, 2009

Getting to Tokyo

December 26, 2009, 5:30 am CDT: Woke up this morning to catch the flight from Chicago to Minneapolis-St. Paul, 9:10 am flight. Went to pick up Dan at 6:30, arrived at O’Hare by about 7:15. Breezed right through security, got to the gate by about 7:40. Before leaving the house, I checked the flight status, and it said on-time for both flights. However, upon arriving at our gate, we were told it was delayed until 9:44. Not a huge deal, as our connection in MSP was 2 hours, so it still gave us about 90 minutes to make the connection. As the snow continued to fall onto the runway at O’Hare, the flight continued to be pushed back, eventually being settled at 10:32. This would be cutting it extremely close, giving us approximately 30 minutes in Minneapolis to get to our gate. Once we got on the plane (at about 10:30), we sat on the runway for a good hour and a half. Needless to say, we were damned sure we’d be missing our flight in Minneapolis, as it was noon by the time we took off, and our flight was scheduled to leave for Tokyo at 12:40. We got to MSP around 1:00 pm, and were informed that our flight to Tokyo had indeed departed. They’d already scheduled us to travel to Honolulu, arrive there around 9:30 pm local time, and depart at 9:00am the following day. We made it fairly clear that this was a pretty undesirable option, as we’d simply be spending 9 hours in a hotel (which the airline would not pay for, as the delay was weather related). They informed us that we could also do Minneapolis-Amsterdam, arriving at 6:40am local time, and depart Amsterdam for Tokyo at 5:40pm that evening, local time. This seemed like an excellent option, as it eliminated the need for a hotel in Amsterdam, and we could simply explore the city for about 7 hours before returning to the airport for the flight to Tokyo. A concern of ours, however, was the possibility of our luggage being lost, but the extraordinarily helpful gate agent did everything she could to make sure that didn’t happen (and lo and behold, our luggage arrived with us in Narita). It was settled then, we’d be leaving on a flight to Amsterdam in about 2 hours.

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