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Thursday, November 15, 2007

U.S. holiday - Singapore to New York

Left home at 4:15am, but at Keppel Road, realied I'd forgotten my red jacket. Lost half an hour returning to get it, but still managed to reach the airpot with time to spare. Changi Airport pre-check-in screening seemed quite lax, security girl seemed like it was her first day on the job. Check-in itself was smooth. Had breakfast at Polar Cafe, then I entered the departure area.

Slept for most of the 6:50am flight to Hong Kong. First time in Hong Kong, airport design looked nice, but the city looked smoggy from afar. Great view of departing flights.

Next was 12-hour flight to Los Angeles at 10:20am. Sat next to an old Vietnamese couple. Tried to help the wife with her forms but she didn't know much English. Finally, got help from a Vietnamese-speaking stewardess towards the end of the flight. Slept through the first few hours, waking up for refreshments. Caught snippets of "Ugly Betty", "CSI:Miami" and "Everybody Hates Chris". Tried to sleep more, but in the end watched last hour-and-half of "Evan Almighty", then "Licensed to Wed" and "Transformers".

There was a medical emergency on the plane, don't know what it was. Passenger in front was a nurse, so she went to help. Later, a male passenger took her seat, think he was the companion of the affected passenger. Tried to overhear what was wrong but couldn't get it.

Landed 20 minutes early at Los Angeles, medical emergency passenger left first, but rest of us had to wait on board for Customs to open for the day. Finally disembarked at 8:40am. Customs was smooth, but airport looks very archaic, airport in need of major renovation, like a maze of tunnels. Had to be directed to next departure area because signs suddenly stopped directing.

Waiting hour hour in line to clear security, counted two iPhones among 50 people. Airport security seemed like just a procedure, no real reason. At least I didn't get singled out for extra checks.

Walked around airport, hoping to find a phone shop to buy a SIM card but none available.

Next plane was delayed by an hour due to "aircraft repair". Passengers in the waiting area weren't notified till 15 minutes before scheduled departure, idiot airport personnel. Worried about missing next flight to New York, even with reduced 1.5-hour buffer.

Departed Los Angeles at 1:10pm, slept through it all, arrived at Chicago at 7pm. Rushed to baggage claim area, waited and waited but didn't see my bag. Worried about losing it and missing next flight. Approached baggage kiosk personnel, turns out that they had removed my bag from the belt and placed with other bags. Idiots! Curse and swear!

8pm already! Rushed to train from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1. Went to American Airlines counter, wanted to self check-in but terminals need 40 minutes pre-departure buffer. Worried, hoping can still check in at counter. Aha! Flight delayed by 1 hour! Joy!

Security check, then browsed for phone shop, still none. Called my cousin from pay phone but kept getting "incorrect number" message, so paid for Internet kiosk to email him about the delay. Left Chicago at 10:10pm, arrived at New York's La Guardia airport at 1am.

Collected bag, waited for pre-arranged transport. Thought the driver was waiting inside arrival hall, but cousin called my handphone to say he was outside. 20-minute drive to my cousin's house. Washed up, watched a bit of TV, then went to sleep around 2am.

32-hour travel time!


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