Thursday, November 5, 2009

Read this second!!

Thursday, continued

It is now 6:15 p.m. and we are still at the airport.

When it became obvious that our flight to Taipei was not leaving at 3:15, we were told that passengers would be taken to a transit hotel until the plane was ready. We realized that the EVA staff had been spending its time and efforts with the mostly-economy class passengers who were in the waiting area; like good Do Bees we had returned to the Business Class lounge and appeared to have been forgotten. Time dragged on. The lounge staff, who are not EVA employees, passed on the information that the flight had been rescheduled to 11:00 tonight. Even with the supposed 3:14 departure we would have missed our connection. An 11 p.m. liftoff meant a night and a day in Taipei in order to catch the flight tomorrow if there was room. It was a mess. We [the collective] wanted to see an EVA rep but that wasn’t working out because the reps were busy getting passengers into taxis for the ride to the hotel. Eventually, all of the other lounge lizards went off to the hotel on the chance that they could get some answers or satisfaction or at least vent a little.

We, on the other hand, remained calm but resolute: we would not leave to lounge until an EVA rep came to talk to us. Having MA in a wheelchair probably helped our cause, too. Finally, “Daniel” came to greet us. D explained that we did not care about getting to Taipei; our concern was getting to New York and then West Palm. He also told Daniel that JAL, ANA and Singapore all had flights from here to JFK tonight. Daniel hurried off to see if he could rebook us on one of the other carriers [We thought it would be funny if somehow we ended up on the Singapore Air flight to Paris with Jon, but it was not to be]. In the meantime, we were each given a $5 phone card which we couldn’t really use and Daniel personally escorted us to the food court to get dinner while he finalized everything. His plan was to send us on JAL to Narita [Tokyo] and then on to JFK with a Continental flight from JFK to PBI.

We went to dinner where MA had Indian and D had something that wasn’t. We weren’t really hungry. When we were back in the lounge we discovered that things tend to fall apart and the wheels had fallen off of Daniel’s little red wagon. The JAL flight was full – at least Business Class – and there were problems with the domestic flight as well, although that was a little garbled in the conversation. Regardless, his latest offer has us leaving Singapore tomorrow at 12:15 in the afternoon and flying directly to Newark on Singapore Airlines, reputedly the best in the world. We will be in Business or First Class, of course. We are scheduled to get to Newark at 5:15 and leave 2 hours later for West Palm, arriving at 11 p.m. It’s not ideal because we will not get home until after 11:30 and our decompressing night in a hotel will come before the long flight, not after it. Still, it is one less plane change and we don’t have to leave at 11:30 p.m. as we would have with JAL.

We are beginning to feel like Tom Hanks – we have spent so much time in the lounge that the staff feels like family and calls us by name. At one point one of the attendants took our baggage trolley and hid it so no other passenger would abscond with it. And they like Grandpa’s monkey tattoo. Daniel has been such a gem that we asked him for a comment card so we could let his superiors know how impressed we were.

With any luck, this will be the last entry until after we get home and sleep for a few days.
It’s been quite an adventure!

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