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