Crazy Trip (and we’re only as far as Toronto…)

Well, we got off to a fairly good start this morning. We got to the airport at 8:30, so 2 hours before our 10:30 departure. That’s where  things start to go weird. We were at the check-in counter for almost 45 minutes. The agent was having trouble with our reservation. Apparently, the issue is that in Detroit, Air Canada reservations are handled by United’s agents. And Air Canada does not “push” the infant (lap baby) boarding passes through to their system. She ended up having to call Air Canada to get us ticketed properly. A couple of things that worked GREAT for us: a car seat does not count as part of your checked bags (YES! 10 checked bags plus car seat means we didn’t have to abandon a box of water.) and they’ve waived the weight limit for Japan (another huge YES! Our big suitcase weighed 57.5 pounds and I couldn’t figure out how we were going to lose the 7.5 pounds…). Tak’s comment was, “We could have brought more water!” So now I’m thinking we have to book it to catch our flight at 10:30. Of course, security took forever. We had lots of bags, including 2 laptops and a stroller. We got to our gate and I saw another flight listed on the board. A moment of mild panic. But it was all good. Our flight left after that flight. The staff at the gate were super friendly and helped entertain Tsubaki.
Now the next “new” experience for me. The flight attendant asked everyone to line up to the left of the counter, because it was a full flight and she needed to count everyone to get an idea of how many men there were versus how many women. I had never heard this request, so I thought it was strange. That’s when we found out that our plane was an 18-seater!! And there were 17 passengers (actually, 19 including two lap babies – 12 men, 2 women, 3 kids, 2 infants). So they said the seat assignments didn’t matter. They were asking the men to sit in the front and the families to sit in the back. Then we were watching them load up the plane and our water did not make it… They couldn’t fit it on the plane. Tak was pretty worried, but I figured we had a 2-hour layover so they would still make it onto our Toronto-Narita plane.

The little plane was actually pretty cool. You could see straight through the cockpit and out the front window. Landing was pretty neat since we could see ourselves approaching the runway. Tsubaki was a bit fussy and squirmy, but it didn’t really matter because the plane itself was so loud! The biggest drawaback was there was no drink service… And because of not being able to take liquids through security, I didn’t have anything to drink. I had figured there would be drink service on the plane and we would fill our water bottles in Toronto. No big deal, except halfway through the flight Hana had a meltdown because she wanted a drink. After a couple of minutes of this, I got out her blankie for her and she fell asleep.

So, we arrived at Toronto airport and went through security. Toronto Pearson Airport has fairly poor signposting after you come out of security for an international transfer. We guessed right and walked down a long hall and went down an elevator where we finally came across a sign showing the flights and gates (our boarding pass didn’t list the gate). Well, our flight is delayed and due to leave at 18:05 – four hours late! So this means 6 hours to kill in Toronto Pearson Airport. When we started looking for lunch, I have to confess to being very dismayed by the minimal selection. But there is a nice seating area with some sculptures the kids can climb on. So hopefully, we’ll be on our way again this evening!!

Tsubaki finally crashed and is sleeping on a blanket on the floor. The other kids are now merrily trashing the space between 2 rows of seats, getting out all of their goodies which were planned for the long flight: wax bendy sticks, coloring sets, Pez dispensers. Guess I’d better do some cleanup! Only a couple more hours and we should be in the air again.

Gaku on the Little Plane

The View from the Back of the Plane

Hana at Toronto Pearson Airport


Crazy Trip (and we’re only as far as Toronto…) — 3 Comments

  1. =) Glad the first leg went ok.
    Why are you bringing a case of water…and why did the waive the weight limit to Japan?
    I travel so little, I’m clueless! Tell Gaku Cassie says HI!

    • Hi Julie!
      We brought cases of water for our friends in Tokyo. Because of the problems with the reactors in Fukushima, there is a small amount of radiation in Tokyo’s water. It’s not a lot and the levels have dropped since the problem first came up. But the recommendation was that infants, pregnant women, and nursing mothers should avoid drinking it if possible. In the short term, the levels were not considered a problem, but if you continued to drink the water for longer than a 6-month period, there could be health problems. For a while you could not buy bottled water in Tokyo because it was all sold out. It’s mostly back to normal now. When we were there, the stores had bottled water and seemed to be normally stocked. The only things that I noticed were some labels on rice balls in the convenience stores were different (easier to print I guess?), and in order to conserve energy, a lot of places were not running their air conditioning (it was hot when we were there), and some places did not have all of their lights on. Another problem from the Fukushima reactors is the loss of the power they generate. It puts a strain on the power grid for eastern Japan. For a while, there were rolling blackouts to make sure there was not too much strain on the grid. For now it’s okay, but the big test will come this summer when it’s really hot and everyone wants to run their air conditioning. Western Japan is not affected by this at all, though. Eastern Japan uses 50 Hz while western Japan uses 60 Hz, so power cannot be easily transferred from west to east.

      I think the airlines have waived the weight limit because they expect that people who are travelling to Japan right now are bringing some relief supplies with them. So in order to allow people to bring more supplies, they’ve waived the weight limit. I have to say, it saved my butt! I could not begin to figure out how I could reduce the weight of our suitcase by 7.5 pounds!

      Gaku misses everyone. It’s been a hard week for him!
      He’s at the park right now, since the weather is sunny and beautiful here today.

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