Tuesday, July 13, 2010

getting back to the US- part 2 of a 2 part story

The next morning bright and early we repacked our carry-ons to be on time for our Delta flight to Detroit. We found our counter but couldn’t believe the line. It was wrapping down the concourse; surely that isn’t for us, we just need boarding passes. I tried the self check in but it had screwy seating for our family, even though I had carefully lined out our seats when we booked. So we stood in line. A trainee came along and wanted to know if we were going to Tokyo. “No, Detroit” She put a sticker on us and moved on. No information just a sticker. Slowly as we moved along in line over the course of the next 2 hours we learned the basics of the story. Our flight was delayed 15 hours; meaning our 9a.m. flight wouldn’t be leaving until midnight. The attendants at the counter were rebooking where possible and otherwise just checking in, while listening to lots of howling and moaning from increasingly irritated passengers. We overheard from other passengers that this wasn’t something that just came up. Delta knew about this days in advance and several businessmen had rescheduled off this flight for just this reason only to find themselves somehow back on this flight.

We got to the counter. Explained that really arriving anywhere in the Midwest would be fine, we can drive home. Nothing. One possible was flying Cathay to Minneapolis then to Chicago but they wouldn’t be able to get us a flight to Bloomington for a day. In the end, we asked for our hotel room back and meal coupons. They rebooked our hotel and gave us food vouchers for inside the airport. We got back to the hotel and they gave us food vouchers for the hotel. Yay, no wandering back to the airport! We laid low in the hotel room for a while. We found the kid’s playroom (this huge space converted from the steam works of the hotel) which was bright, friendly and huge. @ ran. I snoozed. After lunch we took a big family nap. By 10p.m. we headed back to the airport for our 12 pm departure. Jonathan began trying to use our airport food vouchers at the starbucks for mugs and coffee. Coffee ok, Mugs aren’t food. So he bought coffee and I sipped on a nice cup of mint tea and @ found the playground to be delightful. Jonathan also bought several bottles of water for me as I have a tendency to seriously dehydrate on long haul flights. The called for boarding and told us to get rid of all beverages and empty all water bottles . I have 3 new unopened bottles of water. So I set off to find the mother @ had struck up conversation with a few minutes previously. I explained the situation and asked if she would like these water bottles. They were unopened and she had 5 kids. She thought Delta and security were crazy and gladly accepted water bottles.

The 14 hour Delta flight went well. @ slept the first 5 or so hours. I snoozed intermittently, Jonathan slept awhile. We watched movies. Talked over meals. I stayed hydrated! No one was sick. We arrived in Detroit feeling ok. We had 5 or 6 hours in Detroit before our flight to Bloomington. When the bagel shop opened I went for bagels and coffee. We took it in turns to go to the bathroom and freshen as best we could (the delay in Hong Kong had taxed our back ups in our carryons). Still a washed face and brushed teeth were a good start. And daylight helped us feel vaguely more alert.

Even with the delay in Hong Kong, this was our best trans-pacific flight to date.
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