Fear of Flying ? ? ? ? ?   NO
Fear of Making Connections ? ? ? ? ?  Yes

Home   Especially when one is flying overseas.  Too many things to consider.   Too many factors are worked into the equation.  The descriptions below are in the words of the author and depict the true accounts of this trip.  The descriptions are fact and do not, necessarily, mean to cast dispersions on any airline.  

Atlanta to Singapore

Lv Atlanta 6/8 1020 Delta 55 - Direct to Tokyo-Narita
Ar Tokyo 6/9 1300
Lv Tokyo 6/9 1750 United 837
Ar Singapore 6/9 2335
A driver will meet you at the arrival belt with name board and take you to Royal Plaza on Scotts.  $60 has been charged to your AMEX card.
Would you believe that we actually left the gate on time and were airborne within 10 minutes?  Incredible - gonna be a good day.  ------  Not

As we were approaching the Rockies, the captain advised us that there appeared to be a problem in one of the engine's restarter system and that we were diverting to Portland for repairs.   No Problem - after all, I do have an easy 4+ hour layover in Tokyo.  Plane fixed in 20 minutes - a good thing.....  No crew - a bad thing  (over time extension)...  DL51 from Portland to Tokyo is sitting at the next gate.  A Delta agent gets me to transfer to that flight - a good thing.  DL51 leaves within 15 minutes and I still have plenty of time to make my connection in Tokyo - no problem.

Uneventful trip to Tokyo - except - 100 MPH head winds........  We arrive at Tokyo about 1700.  Did I say that my connection to Singapore leaves at 1740????  Let's see - I have 40 minutes to get off the plane, transfer to another terminal, transfer bags???  No problem.  OK, I lied - By the time I figure out where I have to go and how, it's 1720 - I see a departure monitor for the flight and it says my flight has been rescheduled to 1720 - Gotta haul some tucas - To make a long story short, I do make the flight with 2 minutes to spare - no problem.

Uneventful trip to Singapore - No exceptions - Immigration, no problem - Customs, no luggage - After waiting until everyone else has left, I figure that my luggage didn't make it - Find baggage clerk and start filling out paperwork - find out that my bag continued on DL 55, it is in Tokyo and I should have it tomorrow before 1900......  Now to find the driver - no driver - went home - take a cab for $35 (remember, my Amex had already been charged $60 for the limo)..

Get check into the hotel and get my luggage Saturday night about 11PM.   Fortunately, Judy had talked me into taking an extra set of clothes in my carry-on.


Singapore to Beijing

Lv Singapore 850AM direct to Beijing
Ar Beijing 1455
Right on schedule - Limo meets me at airport, gets luggage and takes me to the hotel - no problem.

Beijing to Atlanta

Lv Beijing 6/24 0915 NorthWest 12
Ar Tokyo 6/24 1350
Lv Tokyo 6/24 1620 Delta 56
Ar Atlanta 6/24 1550
Rainy day - got to be good luck. Got to the airport in plenty of time.

Got through customs and immigration with no problems. Boarded the aircraft and got to know my seat mate - a guy from Detroit by the name of John. Again, no problems.

Weather had traffic tied up so had to wait about 20 minutes before pushback - no problem since I have plenty of time in Tokyo. Pushback, no problems. Lined up on the runway and taxied down the runway. Pilot couldn't get one of the engines re-started. Since this was a loaded 747 he decided not to try it on just 3 engines.

Good choice but now we have a problem. Pilot said it was a starter motor, NW had one in stock and we would be back underway in about an hour - still have time to make my Delta connection. Mechanics found out that there was another part broken - don't have the part but China Air has one - be another 1/2 hour - part got there - requires a special tool - don't have one - can't find one.

Now we have a big problem. Since we have already cleared immigration, we are basically in no-mans land. My visa is for a single entry (sound familiar to Saudi?)...... Finally, about 3:30 they decide that immigration has a special place that we can go to. Now mind you, we have been on this plane since 8:45AM. NorthWest doesn't know what to do with us. It is finally decided that they will put us up in a hotel for the night, get the plane fixed, take it to Tokyo as a special flight tomorrow morning.

This plane is packed to the gills and the Chinese and Japanese folks are getting antsy to say the least. Tempers are beginning to fray. Glad I wasn't in coach.

Anyhow, the NW agent is being really hassled by the locals, but she is doing a marvelous job of holding her cool. Anyhow, we are shepherded through immigration to be stamped back into the country (long queue) and then we wait some more. Finally told about the hotel and that busses are being arranged to take us there. By this time, there are about 4 of us in Business Class that have been hanging out together and we are now getting a little punchy and start making jokes about showers, shaving, deodorant, etc - our bags are still on the airplane and won't be given back tonight.
Finally shepherded upstairs to wait some more - another hour goes by before we are shepherded outside for the "awaiting" busses. Two of them for over 300 passengers. Needless to say, more hassle. Finally get to the hotel - beautiful Holiday Inn. More queue time, but I have been put up in the Executive area. Dinner was on NW. Wake up time is 5AM because the busses leave at 6AM back to the airport. That's when it's going to be interesting. Do we pay the airport tax again? What about immigration? Same plane? Don't know. I did manage to call the AMEX travel agency and found out that I am confirmed on tomorrow's Delta flight.

Tried calling Judy at home about 4AM EDT time and got the answering machine - one more fling before the old man gets home???? <snicker>  I am making the assumption that she was over at Cams. Don't have the number. Went to use my AMEX card for the call and the operator puts in the wrong number and I get locked out for calling. Ah ha - have an ATT card - pin number has been eradicated - no good there either. Finally about 8AM EDT time I start calling collect - Andy and Lisa, no answer - Brian and Shannon, no answer - did finally get through to Nancy who found Judy and let her know what was going on.

Northwest 0012Special got off the ground at 0830 6/25 - great flight to Tokyo - got plenty of time - no problems.

Transfer Terminals once again - but wait - it's lunch hour - no busses running - no problem, got plenty of time.  Finally get over to the other terminal, go to the Delta counter, get checked in and then am told that due to flight delays, DL56 won't leave until 1950.  Who didn't know that.  To break this epistle off, DL56 left Tokyo, flew 12 hours and 12 minutes, touched down, got bags, took Marta, Judy met me, lots of hugs and kisses, got home and crashed. 

Long Day - and glad to be home.