On Thursday it was clean out my apartment day, with distractions like my spin class, my sprints with my trainer and Jeremiah and a picnic. Somewhere around six, Lanny and Leah and Levi came with pizza and the five of us took a couch and a bed to a new home. After that, Amy came and helped with the final ‘get everything in gear and let’s do this’ cleaning/packing.
I spent the night at her house, and fell asleep only to have my alarm set for 4:30am. We left for the Atlanta airport and made great time, arrive in advance and with no problems (other than my barely making it to the check in counter with my 3 bags!)
I didn’t have to pay any overage on my bags, they were both 48 pounds exactly thanks to Jeremiah and I’s stealth packing and soon I was through security. I am a be in the airport way far in advance sitting at my gate for an hour kind of girl.
However, we didn’t get on the plane to Chicago when we were scheduled to, due to a ground delay and thunderstorms. This is the story of the unexpected layover… and probably the only time in my life I’ve been glad for a missed flight.
When I finally arrived in Chicago, I had missed the most important leg of my flight: the 14 hour flight to Seoul where I would then connect to Jeju. I got my bags and walked to Terminal 5, hoping that Asiana would help me re-route on a different flight and that I could still possibly make my connection in Incheon. When I arrived at Terminal 5, the Asiana counter was gone. They rent space from Swiss Air, and when their flight is gone, so are they. The Swiss Air gate agent told me that the person for Asiana was sitting over in a little waiting area with another passenger who also missed the flight due to weather. So, I went over to talk to him and it turns out not only does Asiana not fly any more flights that day, but that on Saturday they don’t even have a flight. Sunday is the next flight from Chicago to Seoul.
If you my readers, are screaming “Not good!!!” at this point in the story, you would be right. I did not want to be in Chicago for 2 days ,as lovely as the city is. So I started running backup plans in my head, including — “Who do I know in Chicago that I can crash with for a night?” and “Will American Air re-route me?” and “How can I get my bags that were checked?” and possibly most importantly — where and how soon can I get some food??
The very nice Asiana man looked at my bag check tag and went to try to find my bags and see if they were in Chicago. Meanwhile, the other poor lady didn’t know what to do, so while I was on hold with the Customer Service rep for American Air, I counseled her on the ways to get food vouchers, and hotel vouchers if need be. At this point, the Customer Service rep was busy trying to re-route me through either Beijing, Shanghai, Narita,Tokyo or Hong Kong. There was a three o clock flight and it was sold out, but if I went back to Terminal 3, a gate agent could put me on standby. So I had a moment to choose…. wait and see about the bags or just go and see if I could get this flight out.
I chose to go with the flight — a big leap of faith in the baggage world — and handed poor nice Korean lady my name and cell phone number to give to Ishamel if he ever came back with information about my bags. Back on the train, back into another queue. I met some girls going to Iceland and had a good talk with them for awhile. Then it was my turn and I had Koleen. She was AMAZING. She spent about 45 minutes total with me, trying to find different routes and when Ishmael called about the bags (he had found them!) she coordinated for them to be sent back to American Air. She was trying to go through Narita when she saw a flight open for Chicago – Seattle and then the next day Seattle – Seoul – Jeju on Korean Air! When I told her that my parents lived in Seattle she was really really excited and she did everything she could to get me an earlier Seattle flight. About this time, my dad had called because he thought he had missed me in Chicago. I said “Hey, can you pick me up at 6:30?? I’m re-routed through Seattle!” and he was soooo excited. He told me that he thought he had missed his chance to talk to me before I got on my Seoul flight so when it turned out I was not only going to get to talk to him, but to SEE him that night, we were both very excited.
The flight to Seattle was great — even with my middle seat. My mountains. My Puget Sound….!!! My clouds and mist and rain and Starbucks and family! Unexpected layover turned out to be just what I needed. Dad and I drove to Sharis Restaurant and met Amelia, Jeff, Isaac, Kim and Jeff’s mom. (Josie was at CIY… I still love you too mei mei!) We had pie and spoke Chinglish and gave falling over hugs and hair-braiding and Isaac was pretending to be a penguin and it was so PERFECT!
I spent the night at my parents house — a little bit jealous of all their books and too tired to read any of the titles I briefly gazed at and was interested in… piles of National Geographics, Kiln Fired Glass Art and a ton of Bible commentaries that I didn’t remember seeing last time. It was really nice to get to see my mum and dad even if it was less than 24 hours. Katy came with Evie and Ella this morning to get me and we went to Starbucks. After that we took some family pictures and I was once again off to the airport.
I checked in and there was no bags so far. Korean Air said they’d look and see if they could find them. Dad and I went down to American’s claim office who said they were scanned for the Seattle flight but that they were still in Chicago. We prepared for the probablity of filing a claim in Jeju and I had my Korean address out and everything. Then about 14 hours of nothingness happened (my flight to Seoul) with the most exciting thing being the movie Hugo and the hot towels the stewardess gives out. The transfer was the best part… because when I went through immigration… MY BAGS WERE THERE!!!! Yay! Korean Air had given me new baggage claim tickets halfway through the flight and said they’d found my luggage but you never know until you know… and that’s when you see them and put them in your hand!!!
The flight to Jeju was good… I was very sleepy by this point and then after one hour, we were landing. I stepped outside to palm trees and the cool night air as Shelly and Rachel helped carry my bags to the car. So far, this place rocks. More next time (with pictures! I don’t have any yet cause it was dark!)