The Always Evolving and Partially Unwritten Five-Year Plan

The (Missed) Flight to Malaysia (Part II)

(continued from “The Flight to Malaysia (Part I)” )

Remember how in Houston we went to the gate to get our 2nd boarding pass?  Well, that’s where my brain went at this point, now that we were in Singapore.  However, we were changing to Malaysia Airlines in addition to changing planes.  And…Singapore is not Houston, Dan.   So, hold that thought and we’ll come back…

Making our way from one terminal to the next after nearly 30 hours of travel, we were delighted when we found a familiar site from Seattle.  For our first pictures in a foreign country, I wanted my mocha and Jenny wanted to get snapped with the flowers:

Taste of Home & Much Needed Caffeine

Jenny Enjoying Breakfast

Having found our gate on the map, we enjoyed the extra time we thought we had, and leisurely made our way from breakfast to the restroom to freshen up even stopping at the computers set up for you to access the Internet.  A Facebook post was definitely in order to let people know we made it safely to Singapore, right?

Finally, about 35-40 minutes before our flight was set to depart, we entered our gate area where the security check is setup right at the gate specifically for one flight, but before you can get to an airline rep.  Uh oh…they are asking for boarding passes, which we thought we would get at the gate counter (remember Houston).  “No, no”…they said, essentially telling us you have to go to some other desk to check-in, pointing back in the direction from which we just came.  Not good.

So we quickly back tracked and found a check-in area that we totally missed the first time we walked by.  It was nicely camouflaged with plants and lack of signage, plus we were distracted by our delicious beverages, lack of sleep and ignorant bliss stemming from the idea that we had plenty of time.  So there was this extra step that we previously missed, and as we spoke to the clerk to check in, he informed us the flight was closed.  “Closes 45 minutes before the flight, nothing I can do.” (there we were, 30 minutes before our flight…15 minutes too late and had walked right by this area 30 minutes before — our coffee pit stop had been our downfall).

So the flight was closed and there was no talking our way onto it.  Freak out time!  We pleaded, “but we are here…we were just there at the gate and they are still taking people through security and our bags were checked from Atlanta to Kuala Lumpur so we just need a boarding pass…”

“Sorry, nothing we can do.”  So close…and yet, so far away…

As our friend was searching for future flights and even different airlines, I went into Robert Ward problem-solving mode and started wondering what it would take to rent a car or whether there was a bus or train from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur.  After all, it’s a one-hour flight that occurs frequently everyday and we had a driver who was going to be at the KL airport waiting on us around 8:00am!   We HAD to get there and meet our driver or finding our hotel in a foreign land was going to be another interesting challenge.  Options were not looking good as other flights seemed to be booked and our friend continued to mysteriously disappear and help other customers while we were left to wait and wonder.  Yes, for those of you who are close to my lovely wife, she was definitely in tears at this point : )  To her defense, it had been a long day…

Fortunately, we were placed on standby for a 7:15am flight on another new airline (Silk Air) but with only a few minutes to hustle back across the terminal to get through security.  By the way, don’t try running after you have been sitting still for the better part of 30 hours…it felt like my legs were hollow and my lungs were taking in flames.  At the gate, in broken English and hand gestures I realized the security folks (TSA) had a problem with our wine.  Apparently, although it was clearly sealed, never opened and purchased on the flight, it was not appropriately packaged in the special duty free signature sealed bag.  This meant it was unacceptable to pass through security and for now was going into the garbage, perhaps to be enjoyed later in the evening by the folks who felt it was a security risk.  I know they are paid not to apply judgment on “gray” areas, but to enforce policies to the letter.  It was a little salt in the wound, but we were happy to just to catch a flight.

Then that flight was delayed due to mechanical problems.  We got the announcement about 10 minutes into our wait for boarding calls, and learned it came with a gate change, too.  We saw a lot of the Singapore airport and some of it several times!   With our original arrival time in KL being 7:45am, we finally made it out of Singapore around 8:30 and landed about an hour later.  I was hoping the whole time that the phone messages we left from a pay phone (hadn’t used one of those in a while) or the emails to the school had somehow made it back to our driver that we would be late.  Didn’t want that poor guy to have to wait all that time on us.

After about an hour of the immigrations line, we officially made our way into Malaysia without any further problems and headed toward our baggage claim area, eager to get our luggage, find our hotel and crash.  Not so fast…

To Be Continued…


One response

  1. Pingback: The Flight to Malaysia (Part I) « Uncharted Plan

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