Flight Home

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Ed was kind enough to drive Don and myself to the Saipan airport at 2 am. When we arrived, we found that we had the same problem that the other volunteers had experienced. The runway lights were still not operational and since flights could land or take off during darkness, our flight was delay and we would miss the only connection to Honolulu from Guam. We were told that our flights had been rebooked and we had been rerouted through Tokyo. Don’s new flight schedule had him arriving in Kansas a little later than his original itinerary but my itinerary had me staying over-night in Tokyo and flying out late in the afternoon on Sunday morning and arriving just before midnight on Sunday night, resulting in 56 hours of travel time.

Unfortunately, Pete, Mary, Daniel and Blake had to spend the night in Guam and are leaving this morning, however, I do not know what their flight itinerary is.

All my options had me staying overnight somewhere and since I preferred to stay overnight in Guam, where I wouldn’t have to go through customs again, the ticket agent had my flights changed so that I would fly out of Guam to Tokyo on Sunday afternoon and arrive at 8 pm on Sunday night in Buffalo.

I called the FEMA travel company, National Travel and we tried to find a hotel in Guam for the night but there were no rooms available. I entertained the option of staying overnight in Saipan and flying out the next morning but I couldn’t be guaranteed that I would still have another overnight stay along the way, so I opted to fly to Guam and take my chances there.

When I arrived in Guam, I claimed my luggage and proceeded to the United Airlines ticketing area. I explained my situation to the ticket agent but she informed me that, unfortunately, all flights were full. I told her that I could fly to any destination in Canada or the US and then stay overnight there if I needed to, so she went to talk to her manager. When she came back she told me that she could get me on a flight at noon to Tokyo, followed by a flight to Chicago but there would be a 6 hour delay in Chicago. I jumped at the opportunity to avoid an overnight stay, so she made the changes for me.

It is 10:00 am Saturday morning in Guam, 9:00 am in Tokyo and 8:00 pm Friday night back home. I am scheduled to leave Guam at 12:10 pm, arrive in Tokyo at 3 pm,

leave Tokyo at 5:30 pm, arrive in Chicago at 3:10 pm,

leave Chicago at 9:15 pm and arrive in Buffalo at 11:53 pm, Saturday night.

Barring any other unseen opportunities, I should be back home just after midnight Saturday night. I’ll let you know what actually happens.

Saipan – Day 20

Friday, September 22, 2016

Ed took Pete, Mary, Daniel and Blake to the airport at 1:30 am to catch the 4:15 flight to Guam. I found out in the morning that their flight didn’t leave Saipan until 8:50 am, so I am interested in finding out what their new flight plans are. It had rained all night long and sometimes there were torrential and some of the roads had large pools of water and debris on them.

We slept in and didn’t get up until 6 am. Ed cooked some eggs and made some toast for breakfast, then Don and Jay went to Lilly’s house and finished installing the hurricane straps to the rafters. Ed and I went to Anna’s house and finished the trimming of the doors and windows.

It rained all morning, sometimes with very high winds.

Both jobs were finished by noon so we brought the tool trailer to Mercedes’ house. Don and Jay nailed some plywood on the outside of the house while I installed one of the windows.

We packed up at 3 pm so that Don and Jay could tour the visitors center at the American Memorial Park. Afterwards we checked out the old Japanese Jail because there is a rumor that Amelia Earhart had scratched her initials in one of the cells, but they were so overgrown that we didn’t find anything that might look like her initials.

We then went back to camp, cleaned up and went out for dinner and now I am preparing to fly home. When I arrived in Saipan, I noticed that my flight took one day longer to get back home, so I checked my tickets and found that the agent had given me a 1 day layover in Honolulu. When I asked her about it, she told me that it was a mistake on her part and that she had gotten confused by the time change from Guam to Honolulu, so she changed it.
If all goes well, I will be flying out Saturday morning at 4:15 am ( 2:15 pm on Friday night EDT ) and I will be arriving in Buffalo at 4:22 pm, Saturday night after 26 hours of travel instead of 50 hrs that the agent had originally booked me for.
There will be 5 flights.
Saipan to Guam:
Guam to Honolulu:
Honolulu to Denver:
Denver to Chicago:
And Chicago to Buffalo:

I’m tired just thinking about it.

I will update my journal after I arrive home, in case there are any more adventures along the way.