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03 April 2007

Flight Back To Spitland

My US trip, by right, was shorter than usual and yet it felt like one of the longest. I was sick of it already and ready to fly back. Perhaps it wasn't anywhere fancy like New York or San Francisco, boredom crept up on me pretty fast as I found myself counting down to my ETD earlier than expected.

So anyway, it was the day before departure and I called my airline. Surely, any Business Class seats unsold by now would grant me the upgrade with my mileage. Initially, the agent said no and I explained, that if there are Business Class seats unsold 24 hours before departure, what are the chances that they would be able to sell the rest within that little time of window? I added that I wasn't asking for a free upgrade i.e. I will use 30,000 FFMiles to exchange for it. I told her it's either that or the seat flies empty.

She relented and I got my upgrades. Heng ah.

With that done, I called to make a reservation for an airport shuttle to get me to the airport next morning. This is my style when I travel. Everything must be planned to the detail in advance. I don't like the lottery of uncertainty. If I can nail everything dead shut before I make my next move on the itinerary, I would.
So shuttle would arrive at the lobby at 9.15am next morning and I woke up especially early the next day at 6am to head down for a big breakfast as I haven't had a proper meal in the last couple of days and it also looked unlikely that I would hardly have any chance of a proper meal on that day with all the flight connections. Besides, I like a slow breakfast. It's very relaxing.

After checking out, I walked to the front door only to see this van parked in front of me.

Clarion Airport Shuttle. 

What?!!

You mean this hotel got free airport shuttle one ah?

Alamak! Then I called to make booking for what?

It was too late to cancel my booking as I went USD 20 poorer. T_T

The consolation was that they sent a Lincoln Town Car to get me. At least, I would arrive at the airport looking good. The car arrived late albeit slightly as I realised why. The fact that he was driving with one hand and munching his ta-pao breakfast biscuit with the other kinda gave the clue away. Not that big a problem with me since I like the guy. Very friendly and chatty even though bits of biscuits were flying out of his mouth onto the steering wheel as he talked.

Anyway, first sector from GSO to DTW was uneventful as it was a small flight on a CRJ carrying only 50 people. I grabbed a quick lunch of a Coney Dog lathered to death with melted cheese and bacon. It was a small hotdog which I wolfed down in 4 bites but I could have sworn it clogged up 5 years of my arteries useful lifespan.

I arrived at my gate an hour earlier only to see people boarding already. I supposed they needed to board earlier since I noticed there were an unusually high number of Ojisans, Obasans, Ah Sooks and Ah Pors on this flight. Coincidence? Your guess is as good as mine.

So there I was snugly tugged into my seat with a book in my hand, sipping bubbly.

It must have been quite a while as I found myself dozing off. I was awakened by the blare of the PA.

WTF? Are we still on the ground? !@#$$#@$%&^*#!!!!
 
Apparently, they are still trying to fix the navigation system which of all times, choose to go nuts just before I fly.

"Nabeh... this one confirm Microsoft Windows one..." I cussed under my breath.

I looked at my watch when we finally pushed off from the gate. We have been sitting for an hour and a half already. Good thing we boarded earlier or we would have fallen even further behind schedule.

The Boeing 744 taxied lazily to the runway only to find ourselves with another PA announcement. Apparently the plane that landed on our runway before us, had landed quite hard, causing quite a bit of concrete to come off the runway, resulting in debris strewn across our path. In English, it translates to another hour for the ground crew to repair and clean up the runway.

I was telling myself in my mind that my connection from Narita to Hong Kong is screwed liao and was silently comtemplating if the airline would put us up in hotels in Tokyo. I was already planning where I wanna go liao. Akihabara? Roppongi? Shibuya? *day dreams*

Well, it wasn't long after we have taken off when the Captain spoke again. Looks like my ETA is now 18:30 +1 Japan time and they are holding back all connecting flights to wait for us. There goes my free night in Tokyo. Damn.

It was a good thing I was strategically seated in 10A where I was 2nd in line at the door when we disembarked. The last thing you want to be is to be behind 400 people at the security checkpoint at a time where you are rushing from one plane to another.

We landed at Gate 20-somethings and my connection is at Gate 15. Wah raoz!! Can be closer a bit or not? So I ended up dragging my wheelie carry-on and forced march all the way until my legs were crying out for mercy (if run hor, very unglam leh. So die die also must only walk.).

It must have been a personal record as I unbuckled my seat belt from one plane to buckling up in the next plane, with airport security checks and all, in under 20 minutes.

I sat there panting with my legs throbbing. Give me my champagne and make it a double!

I slept all the way to Hong Kong. Again, I opted for Seat 10A. First off the plane, first to clear immigration and it was a nice finishing touch to see your luggage first off the conveyor belt.

Just when you thought the journey is over, it isn't. There was a car waiting to whisk me into the darkness heading in the direction of Spitland.

- Voxeros

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