We arrived safely in Osaka, after a strange flight that took us through Beijing first. Boo! to Aeroplan for not letting us know about our flight changes (they changed things so that we were going to arrive a day late), but Yay! to Aeroplan for helping us get on a different flight so we would arrive just a few hours, not days, late.
Let this be a lesson to all - check your flights the day before.
We are having a great time so far with Kyla's sister, Tanja and her boyfriend Akihiko. Jet lag hasn't been too bad so far. We will head up to Sapporo after Christmas to visit with our friend Marty, Haruka and their two children.
Transfering through your final destination - or, what happens when Air Canada doesn't know how to contact you... (Nick writing)
One of the many reasons we decided to return to Canada for a week just before Christmas was to catch an Aeroplan points flight from Ottawa to Asia. (Other reasons include to see family, to watch some NHL, to lighten our backpacks, and to snuggle with our dog again. And to seriously think about burning some of our travel clothes. I am getting really sick of that specific shade of green on my travel rain jacket.) We were going to fly on points from Ottawa to Osaka, with a two week stopover, and then on to Beijing on the same ticket.
The night before we left, I wandered down to my parent's computer to check on our flight status. See, we had made this mistake before, a long time ago when heading to Australia. And we had just received a message from the gentleman who was renting our house, who said the airline had wanted to talk to us.
Everything checked out for the Ottawa-Vancouver leg, but the Vancouver-Osaka leg wasn't showing up until the next day. Huh? "Must be some quirk", I thought, "since I clearly booked a Van-Osaka flight on the 19th, and no one has said anything to us about it." I called up Aeroplan on my dad's cellphone (because Kyla was on the other line, trying to deal with a courier company... long story). The cellphone kept cutting out, but finally I managed to get ahold of an actual person at Aeroplan.
"Oops," she said, which is not a good sign. "We've been trying to contact you since May. We've made a bunch of changes to your flights - right now, there is not flight to Osaka on that day, so you'll have to fly the next day."
Hmm... normally a forced night in a Vancouver airport hotel wouldn't be so bad, but that would seriously dent our budget, and Kyla's sister had planned some activities with her students for the day we arrived. We didn't want to miss that, so some quick tap-dancing on my part (polite-speak for "lying"), and I had convinced them that we HAD to be in Osaka on the 20th. We were catching another connecting flight, you see... (WINK, WINK).
So about an hour of waiting on the cellphone (unable to move from a two foot circle, because the line would die), discussing options which included Hanoi, Seoul, and Hawaii, she came back with a flight for us: Ottawa to Toronto, Toronto to Beijing, Beijing to Osaka ... two week stopover in Osaka, then Osaka to Beijing.
"Huh," I thought "don't they get mad about that kind of stuff when you try and do it on points? How can we go through our final destination on our way to ... our final destination?" I didn't say anything, because she suggested it. And I wasn't going to start to get into the fact that we weren't going to use the return leg of the journey (it cost less point to get a return flight than a one-way flight. Still don't understand that).
But, it all worked out; we somehow managed to avoid any serious jetlag; and we even got a sneak advance peak at the Beijing airport before we returned from Osaka. Not that that was really much of a bonus, since it's just another airport, only with signs in Chinese reminding people not to spit in public.