AIRPORT HOPPER: FROM BANGKOK TO CARIBBEAN
It’s the end of my five weeks annual vacation.
I reluctantly packed my bag last night.
Traveled back to Turks and Caicos from Bangkok, Thailand had different stories. I took five different flights, hopping from one country to another. Five countries.
My cousin and her husband accompanied me to the airport in Bangkok. We got out of the apartment at 2 noon to the sky train station in Phayathai. We decided to try the new skytrain. It was the first opening day of the Airport Express (2010).
This was my trip to the Turks and Caicos Islands from Bangkok, Thailand:
Suvarnabhumi, Bangkok – Changi, Singapore
The express train link airport: Phayathai-Makkasan replaced by Airport Express Phayathai-Makkasan. Technical issues, the operator apologized from PA twice. The train stopped for 15 minutes.
Get off at Makkasan Railway Station, we bought a one-way train ticket for 15 minutes round trip (within the same day). Express train from Makkasan-Suvarnabhumi: 20 minutes. The regular skytrain would take 45 minutes.
Five minutes check-in. Boarding pass like supermarket receipts. Air Asia opened the entire counter – many planes would fly at the same time.
Immigration – queue for 54 minutes. At least 5-7 minutes/person. I asked the person standing in front of me to allow me to go ahead. He understood and allowed me went through so did some people in front of him.
Ten minute security check and 800 meters to reach the gate. Still, 10 more gates to reach, last called on screen…run…Tiara ran … FAST !!!
The check-in counter staff stopped me at the gate and told me my bag was too big. Overweight, the rules only allow 7 kgs. Fine TBH 660 / US $ 22.
They would recheck-in my bag but I refused because I brought netbooks, cameras, and other electronic gadgets. Finally, after negotiating I could bring to the cabin. Such a relief.
Fifteen minutes later took off.
Total trip: 2 hours dan 5 minutes.
Changi, Singapore – Narita, Tokyo, Japan
Immigration was smooth and fast and there was no problem when picking up luggage.
Checked in at JAL Airlines: smooth, no problem with the reservation.
Quite long time waiting for boarding aircraft.
Changi Airport is one of the best airports in the world: free internet access, orchid gardens, butterfly garden, wide-screen TV with different entertainments, sky train between each terminal, 24-hour food court, foot massage machine and more.
Inside JAL Airlines plane: miserable. Hot and almost no air conditioning. Usually I was cold and dressed in layers, now I wore a thin t-shirt.
The food was cold and tasteless. I had no appetite. I only ate a few spoons.
Total trip: 6 hours dan 30 minutes.
Narita, Tokyo – Dallas Ft Worth, United States of America
Arrived at Narita morning (7:13 am local time). I took a skytrain from the arrival terminal to the departure terminal.
Narita Airport is clean but old with dull colors. I reached the American Airlines counter. The counter would open at 8:30 am. While waiting, I refreshed myself at the airport restroom.
I browsed around the terminal, walking from store to store. My cousin asked me to buy a souvenir here, but I could not find what I wanted. Moreover, I also did not want to add the weight of the bag.
Sellers had an unusual method of selling product, shouted like traders in the market while offering a free sample and handing leaflets to passengers.
America Airline counter opened. I was directly served. Smooth and I got a new boarding pass.
Total trip: 11 hours dan 25 minutes.
Dallas Ft Worth, United States – Miami International Airport, USA
Long queue at Immigration, limited officers, and many Japanese people could not speak English. At any time there were calls for Japanese translators to different counters.
I took the suitcase from luggage conveyors. It only took 5 minutes. The customs officer interviewed each passenger in detail…hurry up!!! Luckily, a Japanese woman allowed me to precede her.
No need to recheck-in luggage. Just put luggage on the luggage conveyor.
Again I had to re-checked in hand carry. Though I bought this bag in the U.S and I used it when I went to New York and I could take it to the cabin. No problem. Fortunately I did not have to pay. I had to pull the camera and all the gadgets into the handbag. There were some that I had to carry such as cosmetic bags, jackets, and scarf.
It turned out that most of the compartments were full. Nevertheless, the person who came after me brought a bigger bag. Other passengers who had sat also carry large hand carry … (hiks !!).
Total trip: 2 hours and 40 minutes.
Miami International Airport, USA – Providenciales, TCI
No need to claim luggage.
The gate at the same terminal…nice!!!. I heard from friends that they had to run from one terminal to another with very limited time. Sometimes they had to change the terminal or gate at the last-minute. They kept watching over the flight monitor all the time with bags in hand, they ready to run to another gate. The last hour before departure was an important moment.
I had time to look around the terminal and stretched my legs. Hispanic staff did not understand English. I was having trouble finding where the gates, toilets, cafe and shops (mini supermarkets to buy sandwiches). I had to find and asked from a uniform staff.
Cold now !!Brrr….
Coincidentally, I met a fellow worker at the gate. Funnily enough, we sat together divided only by the hallway.
The plane was empty, only 1/3 of the seats occupied. Most of the passengers moved from their place of origin and took three seats for themselves. So my friend could move sit.
By the way, my hand carry did not need to re-checked in.
Total trip: 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Late 5 minutes from the specified time. Most flights were late.
The annoying thing when got to the destination I lost my luggage. I had to report to American Airlines ground handler counter. It took an hour for four passengers to file a report.
After reporting to the American Airlines counter, my colleagues and I went to the marina by taxi with a journey for 20 minutes.
Forty-five minutes sea journey by boat. I entered the apartment at 9:45 pm, showered immediately and slept soundly.
Lost luggage on Monday, September 6.
I happened to work in Guest Service Department. My daily work. So I contacted American Airlines at the airport every day at 09:00, 14:00 and the next day at the same time for 4 days.
Bags according to their online system should arrive in Provo on September 9.
American Airlines customer service called and said the bag was at the airport on Saturday.
I got it on Tuesday.
(You can imagine when a guest has lost something, maybe they back to the U.S already and their stuff just reached. Fortunately, there never been anything like this. Maybe my bag did not reach Providenciales because I almost missed the plane in Dallas).
Luckily, there was no problem with the bag. The bag was intact and no items were missing.
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