Solo travel and flight chronicles

Solo travel and flight chronicles

In my recent trip, some really interesting thing(S) happened to me on flight travel.
For the first time in my life, I gotten 2 delayed flights, 1 cancelled flight plus a long and tiring transit weaved into the story of my current travel.

My journey started with an email from Delta a few weeks before my trip to inform me that my flight timing has been changed from 05:50am to 06:20am. It seems that Delta has decided to shift their flight times outbound and inbound to Singapore.

Then on the flight day at 4:00am in the morning, I received a push message from my Delta app informing me that my flight has been delayed from 06:20am to 7:20am, however check-in timing remains the same.

I checked-in at 04:00am and pass the immigration at around 04:45am so to send my parents home as they had insisted on sending me to the airport.

Shopped around the available shops.
I was hoping to pick up some souvenirs for my hosts in Hawaii and Japan, however the Singapore souvenir shops in #ChangiAirport wasn’t open.
I finally resorted to pick only postcards from Times (the souvenir wasn’t as nice) and the shopkeeper at Times were Filipinos and had slight trouble understanding my English when I asked about the closed souvenir store opposite.

I felt that the souvenir shops should open 24 hours.
At least for passengers like me who is taking a pretty early flight and banging on the shops to be opened. They used to be opened back in 2006. Now no longer. What a shame.

In between to kill time, I even had a green tea soy latte at the Starbucks nearby (which I had enquire about an electrical point but found none even with instructions from the crew) and camwhoring some pictures with my teddy buddy, Freddy.

A pic of Freddy ready for his flight

Honestly, I took him along, just to be my safety blankie; as also my photo model.
Travelling solo takes a lot of courage, especially on my very first solo travel trip, and my first solo flight.
And, seriously, Freddy gave me a lot of courage, just by holding on to him and take off.

And if anyone enquired me about Freddy, I would usually reply: “For my niece.”
Yeah, like as if I really have a niece in the USA.
Well, I have one back home in Singapore, but that’s another story.

And yes, I admitted I used this excuse many times on this trip especially when I had Mickey Mouse AND Freddy in an open tote bag on my way back to Honolulu International airport to depart on a flight to Tokyo, Japan.

There was even an American lady who stayed in the same hotel/apartment building approached me and asked if those stuffed toys were for my children, (Lol! As if I have any~)

Again, I’ll just use the same excuse; ‘It’s for my niece and nephew’.
And it works like a charm.

Whatever excuse it takes, the most important thing is, Freddy had played his role as my travel buddy very well. Whatever it takes to build your courage to travel solo, DO IT.

So I thought all the delays are over, but after I had entered the boarding gate, all the passengers waited until 08:10am before we could even board the plane.

The first flight took off at round 9am.

Push-back at 8:45am, took off at 9am

The delay was due to high winds in Narita and we were forced to circle the airspace given for almost 40mins before we were cleared to land in Narita International Airport. It was one memorable flight.

Circling the air until we were clear to approach Narita

The airplane rocked back and forth and I could hear the whirring of the turbines and the changing of the wing flaps and gears of the plane trying tirelessly to keep the plane stable and when we finally landed, most of the passengers cheered and clapped. Even the captain was finally able to crack a joke of our rock-and-rolling flight on the PA system.

However, the plane was still rocking even after we had landed and the plants and vegetation outside were curling backwards like acrobats.
You can feel the strong winds outside trying to push us back like unwelcome strangers.

Nevertheless, our captains kept his promise and delivered us safely to the boarding gates.
Everyone were late for their transit flights. Passengers scrambled to complete their cabin luggage screenings and custom checks while Narita Airport land crew shouting out to passengers to inform everyone that their connecting flights will be waiting for them.

Flights waiting for passengers? I guess ONLY at Narita International Airport.
Their service attitudes and the Japanese hospitality extends far out to the tail fins of every airplane.

Luckily for me! Well, I still couldn’t figure if it was a blessing in disguise.
I chose a later flight initially because that combination was the ticket I could find using the lowest amount of mileage points to exchange for my ticket. And all those unplanned incidents turned my long transit from 6 hours to 3 hours.

Delta airplanes parked at Narita Airport

While I did enjoy my transit time in Narita Airport (which I will cover in another blog post) I finally found myself settling in one of the comfy chairs near the boarding gate where Delta had charging stations for the convenient of their passengers.

Awww.. Aren’t they sweet? They thought of everything! (Well, almost!)

I took the chance to charge my camera and my iPod as they were both running out of power.
(The top 2 USB charging cables are mine!)
While doing so, I was enjoying the quiet time.
But Narita’s weather had other plans.

10 minutes before boarding time, the Airport PA system made an announcement of my flight having a gate change.
Yeah, so from gate 14, our flight changed to gate 28A.

The entire flight crew and fellow passengers immediately stood up and made our way to the other side of the airport terminal; with scene that looks like a stampede across the vast sienna plains; however, in a more civilized manner and a slower pace.
It really looked like some mass migration taking place. Lol~
It was interesting to watch right and left while I too made my way to the other side of the terminal; with some rushing their way through while I stroll instead.
(It didn’t matter! The captain and his first pilot were strolling alongside me! Without the both of them, the plane will not fly!)

So meanwhile, I felt pretty amused with all these happening around me as all these flight delays, gate change etc were a first to my own flying experience.

When I arrived, I realised that I was at the ground floor of the terminal; which means, we would be taking the airport bus out to the plane that was parked somewhere deeper within the airport hangar.

That would be cool~ How silly I thought then.
Taking the bus out, and climbing the stairs up to the airplane was one mammoth task for the ground crew, a slight scramble for passengers with cabin luggages (I was lucky I only had one!) whom wanted a quicker boarding to secure precious cabin trunk space.

It was then, about 10 minutes in when the bulk of the passengers arrived, they announced a time change from 7:10pm (as shown in the pictures) to 8:10pm.

What a surprise… More delays.
The whole reason behind all these delays was due to high winds at Narita, like I had previously mentioned. And while everyone were tired waiting, we all knew that safety was the first and most important priority to air travel.
That instance I could relate first hand to a scenario how passengers would feel if the weather outside was a snowstorm and stuck in a airport terminal was the last thing they wanted to be in.

While the ground crew scrambled to re-arrange the boarding procedures, names were being called by them one by one. Surprisingly, I was being called too!

Turns out that due to the aircraft change, my seat changed too.
Unfortunately, although it was a window seat, it was at the wing, which means that I could just keep my camera in my bag throughout the journey to Honolulu, Hawaii as the wing would pretty much block any scenery outside my window.

Nevertheless, I was glad to be even given a window seat on such a last minute change.

Another thing I was grateful for was that in seat USB (under the screen, as you can see in the reflection in the picture above) and power outlet (below the seat in front of me) that I could charge my camera and even mobile phone freely during the flight.

Although we boarded the plane at 8:10pm, we didn’t push back until 8:45pm.
Well, simply because the air control tower had to clear 22 flights in front of us before we were cleared to take off.
The Japanese’s reactions were simply classic when the pilot announcement was translated into Japanese over the PA system.
You should have seen! It was pretty funny~

On this flight, something interesting happened too.
The entire situation happened just because I was seated next to a Japanese, senior citizen, grandmother figure.

Since I couldn’t speak a word of Japanese, I tried using body language; pointing this and that, and even helped her with her earplugs which she had trouble figuring out where to plug them.
However, after awhile, body language finally failed me.
She had to resort approaching the flight attendant.
That’s number one.

Since I was seated next to a Japanese, and majority of the Asians onboard the flight were Japanese AND I was travelling alone, the flight attendants often mistaken me as Japanese, trying to converse with me in Japanese.
I usually have to politely interrupt and reply them I don’t speak Japanese.
When it’s meal time, that started all over again. However, one flight attendant did remember, and whenever it was her turn to do her rounds, she spoke to me directly in English.
That’s 2.

Sitting next to such a nice granny has its perks.
The tiredness from the long transit and flight delay did take a front seat and I was asleep most of the time. It was during the pre-landing snack time when I saw the Hawaii customs cards stucked to my front seat pocket. I knew immediately that it was highly possible that the attendant came around while I was asleep and the nice granny has took those cards for me. And guess what? The cards are in English!
I’m not sure if it was the same attendant, or the granny, but I was genuinely touched by such simple gestures.
The plane finally landed in Honolulu without any delay in flight time and with clear skies!
I’ve finally arrived!

Truly, fellow passengers on the same plane often take care of each other, which I also did experience in other flights, no matter which nationality they be.

I’ll write about my other flights in another post, cause I flew (my first time too!) business class!!!!

Meanwhile, enjoy this video that I had made while on my flight from SIN-NRT..



More stories soon!
Meanwhile stay safe and happy travels!

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