The next day, we catch our morning flight to Tokyo thus the reason we stayed in the airport for convenience. There are many lounges in Singapore Changi and this time we tried Plaza Premium Lounge and the laksa (curry noodle soup). It was tasty and filling before our flight!
Not that we’ll be hungry flying with Japan Airlines….. those huge food trays 😀 I love their flavorful miso soup!
Urggg that was disgusting, please be considerate to other fellow flyers!
When we landed Narita Tokyo Airport at around 4 PM, it was raining and snowing and I couldn’t believe that we deplaned via bus during this weather.
We were back to Narita again and have a longer layover (3 hours) there to do our shopping. I love how they have a display “model” of each item so you know how it looks like inside the pretty packaging! We’ll be visiting Japan in May so we brought back home one of each that looked interesting to try so we can buy more in May 🙂 Those pretty looking displays totally tested my selective disorder >.<
Those glasses are very pretty but look at the price tag, yikes over $100 USD each! Snacks are much more affordable 😛
My end result to try this and that!
And then I saw this Chinese guy stacked with boxes of this kind of white chocolate covered biscuits, they must be good right? So I grabbed a box too and it turned out to be one of my favorites from the basket load of snacks!
Those are the ones that I brought home costing over $100 USD with the most expensive were the scallops over $30 USD for that bag, others are like in the $10 USD range.
After shopping, it was time to fill our tummy and everything looked so yummy!
I got a miso soup and I think the flavor was too much that it was a little bit salty for me.
Look at the perfectly boiled egg!
Jason got the steak and eel combo fish, the steak was yummy!
Narita Airport was fun to explore for a few hours…one interesting thing was the super high tech toilet….so many buttons and functions! It even plays music too? LOL!!!!
Once we done with shopping and our dinner, we walked back to our gate and waited; oh boy it was snowing outside instead of a wintery mix.
We waited and waited passed our boarding time and then an announcement from the barely we can understand gate agent that the flight is delayed for de-icing. Ok, understandable and we waited for another hour. The agent announced again that the flight is delayed until further notice urgggggg! We kept waiting for another hour again and the same announcement that delayed until further notice due to weather. It didn’t look that bad out compared to what we had seen in New England; the snow barely accumulating! Our flight was originally scheduled to depart at 7:40 PM and we waited for over 2 hours! Around 10 PM, the gate agent announced the flight is CANCELLED!!!! What the????? Everyone was scrambling to the gate agent and asked what should we do? We had a hard time understanding her and thank goodness that there was another staff who speaks English without the strong accent. She said the flight is canceled due to the airport is closed because of the snowstorm. Also, the airport is closing that we can’t stay inside the gate area; we must leave the gate area and go through immigration to officially enter Japan, OMG this was the 2nd time we had to enter Japan that we didn’t plan to! We asked if they can rebook us to the next flight out and the agent said she can’t do any rebooking, we need to call the reservation office. And by the way, the reservation office is closed at 7 PM so we have to wait till the next morning at 8 am when they reopen…..WTH!!!! Oh, she added that since the cancellation was due to weather, the airline is not responsible for the loss…..double WTH!!!!
Alright, my mind started to process our alternative to get home if Japan Airlines couldn’t get us out the next day. I know that the Chase Sapphire Reserve has great travel benefits since we booked our flight with the credit card so I looked through it and found the trip cancellation/interruption benefits. I scanned through the Benefits Guide on the trip cancellation/interruption benefits and it said it covered cancellation/interruption due to weather so I thought yay. The Benefits Guide didn’t say what is not covered and it requested “proof of expenses incurred due to a Trip Interruption”, so I thought that the expenses incurred during the trip interruption are covered. Next, we looked at the flights to get home; the nonstop Japan Airlines flight to Boston the next day was sold out in minutes! We looked for airport hotel while waiting at the immigration line where the room was filled with stranded passengers like us and every hotel was sold out OMG 🙁
It took another half an hour to get through immigration and we finally got out of the security area. No hotel was available nearby but there was some outside of the airport area. We walked out and there were a few taxis around so I asked a taxi driver how much it would cost to get to this hotel? He doesn’t speak English at all OMG! I used my body language to ask him to write it down, he wrote around 10,000 yen! I asked credit card? He said no! I walked back in to let the guys know the cost and I went to the ATM machine to get cash. When I hit the hotel booking confirmation button in the Expedia App, it came back with an error. Urg, I tried again the same thing! Then, I use Orbitz and the same thing, I guess everyone is making bookings at the same time that the inventory showing is not accurate. We talked through and made a decision to stay inside the airport instead. We found some seats right in front of one of the sliding doors.
We gave up on searching for hotel room and instead, we looking for flights to get home thinking the credit card trip insurance will cover the expenses. The cheapest flight we found was the American Airlines flight to Chicago and to Boston for like $800 while the rest were in the thousands range. We were so afraid that the flight will be sold out soon as thousands of passengers were stranded in Tokyo. Also, the airline is not responsible to rebook us due to weather and not their fault and we don’t know if they can get us a flight the next day….we might be stranded for more than a day! We need to get back to work so we decided to go ahead and book the flight! Once the flight confirmation got through, we were relieved that at least we will be able to get home tomorrow. An announcement came out that the airport will be providing sleeping bags, water, and crackers; we were really impressed on how quickly the airport acted in this situation. People were lined up to get the sleeping bags, water, and crackers:
Jason got one set for each of us, at least the sleeping bags made the sleep in the airport a little bit more comfortable. This was the 2nd time we slept inside the airport 🙁
It was getting very cold especially the sliding door kept opening every minute with people coming in and out so I said we should move to another warmer area. I walked around the airport, up to the 2nd floor and 3rd floor and every area were filled with people. Also, people were camping right in front of Japan Airlines counters already so it’ll be a huge line when the counter opens the next day. It was so crazy!!! At least we booked our flight out tomorrow so we don’t need to fight with those people. After scouting for an open area, I found a spot where people usually wait for arriving flights. I messaged Jason to walk over to check it out if we want to move. He came and think it was a better location so he went back to tell Brian and brought all our luggage over. We set up the area with our sleeping bags and use our luggage to create the unofficial wall. LOL, this was our territory:
I told the guys that I could stay up all night watching the luggage and they should get some sleep because they are that type of people who can’t sleep on the plane. Me, on the other hand, I could sleep on the plane as soon as it takes off! The guys were able to get a few hours of sleep here and there!
While they were sleeping, I did some research on where to go the next day since we will have the whole morning to kill until the late in the afternoon flight to Chicago. The one possibility was to Asakusa to see the temples. My phone was running out of battery so I found a wall outlet nearby that I could charge my phone while keeping an eye at our luggage. The airport was a zoo, I have never seen anything as crazy!
This guy was next to where I was charging my phone…..pretty creative to block the lights LOL!
I survived till around 5:30 AM where I was getting very sleepy and occasionally felt asleep for few minutes. Japan is such a safe country that I wasn’t too concerned on our belongings when I fell asleep for few minutes xD Then, Jason woke up at that point. We waited till 7 AM when the IASS Executive Lounge opens for better seating and grab some breakfast before heading out to explore Tokyo. We were wrong, the lounge was the worst lounge ever! The lounge was a small room filled with seats next to each other and just a drink machine for soda, juice, water, and tea. There is no breakfast, no other food item, nor comfortable to hang out for a long time. When around 8 AM, we went downstairs to store our luggage and to the train ticket office thinking to do a trip to check out Asakusa. The lady in the ticket office showed us a map on how to get to Asakusa and the timetable. We asked what time and train should we leave Asakusa so we can get back to the airport for our flight 6:15 PM? She gave us this shocking look! We were like urg?? She said due to the snowstorm, the train time can’t be confirmed and she looked like she doesn’t recommend us to take this trip. She said we can check with the other ticket office for more information on the return train. We went into that office and again the lady looked like she doesn’t recommend the trip due to the uncertainty on the train times. At that point, we gave up on the idea of taking a trip to Asakusa; it will be too much hassle!
We went back upstairs and tried to enter the other lounge in Narita Terminal 1 but it has a long waiting list. We went back to the IASS Executive Lounge and there has a waiting list. We put our names on the waiting list and browsed around. The airport was chaotic when the airline counters opened and filled with people lining up blocking the ways. We stayed mostly on the 3rd floor where the lounges are and some restaurants and shops to kill our time. There’s a Pokemon store there where you can get exclusive captain Pikachu!
We got some rice bun from a convenient store as breakfast and by that time, we were able to get in the lounge again.
Brian and I did some work and when it was lunch time, Brian wanted to stay in the lounge to continue to work. Jason and I went out for lunch and even restaurant started to sold out on items yikes! All my top choices were sold out, so sad!
Jason found a fusion restaurant so we went there for lunch. Jason got a seafood spaghetti, it was just okay.
I got a steak curry and the steak was perfectly cooked. Food inside the airport wasn’t too bad in Narita; with an entree around $15 USD.
After our lunch, people were still sleeping inside the airport…..crazy.
There is a sushi belt resturant next to the lounge and Jason wanted to try it out despite the fact that he just had lunch! The sushi was extremely affordable, the lowest priced dish of sushi was only 130 Yen ($1 USD)!!! The price of the sushi is according to the color of the plate 😉 Self-serve tea by mixing matcha (green tea powder) and hot water.
Jason had a great time trying out different kind of sushi!
He was super full after like 6 dishes hahahaha!
Time passed so slowly and it was tough but nevertheless, we surived our stay in Narita Airport. When our flight was finally boarding, what a relief that we are going home! The American Airlines flight to Chicago was surprisingly comfortable with good legrooms (not as great as Japan Airlines of course) and it has better choice of movies!!!
Additionally, the food was surprisingly good. I had the marindated pork and it was super tasty! It was the best American Airlines meals I ever had!
And for the salad dressing, they had roasted sesame dressing which was my favorite and that I have been looking for a long time!!! I will make sure that I’ll get more of this salad dressing when we return to Japan in May now that I know the brand!
Jason’s seafood noodle wasn’t bad either.
We were so glad that we made it home finally!!! I thought the nightmare was finally over until I have to deal with the travel insurance claim yikes! It was a 3rd party claim company “Card Benefit Services” that I have to deal with but at least I can submit everything online at: eclaimsline.com. Then within 7 business days, I got a response of requiring more documentation including a letter from the airline or booking company to state the amount of refund or any compensation that I received or will be receiving, proof of travel cancellation due to weather, and proof of our marriage since the credit card holder is Jason and the bookings are made with his card. I had to call Expedia to get our refund and it was another nightmare! Each time I was on a call with Expedia, they have to call Japan Airlines which each time took more than 2 hours of wait on the phone to just get someone over at Japan Airlines to answer!!! First time I called, the agent said he’ll need to send an email to Japan Airlines to get their confirmation of the refund and they will contact me. I waited for few days and heard nothing back so I called again. The same process, over 2 hours of wait and another agent said it’ll take Japan Airlines so time to figure out how much is our refund but will get back to us. Another few days and called again, the guy said there’ll be a refund but need written approval from Japan Airlines to disclose the amount and then Expedia can process the refund, it’ll take a day to get the response back. Another day went by, I called again and the supervisor lady said the refund is $0 because in international flight the return segment has no value. WTH!!! Each time the story is different and at that point after wasted 6 hours of my time waiting in total, I said please send me a letter attachment to state that so I can provide to my insurance company. I finally got the letter and uploaded to the claim online. After going through hoops….the Card Benefit Services got back to us with a confirmation of the refund – $284.77 for both of us and note that the expenses incurred during the trip interruption are not covered such as the purchase of another flight to get home OMG!!! Then what is trip cancellation/interruption insurance if it doesn’t cover it? The fine print does not explicitly stated what is covered and what is not covered and very misleading to ask for evidence of expenses incurred during the trip cancellation/interruption! What’s the point of asking those if you are not reimbursing those? I replied with those questions and complaints and never heard back from them -.- I got the check in the mail within a few days sighhhh lesson learned – verify what is covered and what is not covered and not assuming based on the words even reading the fine prints might not be 100% sure!
Despite the challenges and stresses of transportation (flight delay that we had to make the one hour journey from Narita to Haneda Airport to catch the flight) and coming back (flight canceled so had to stay overnight in Narita), the Southeast Asia trip was wonderful – we checked off many items on our bucket list:
- The dream honeymoon paradise of Maldives and stayed in overwater bungalow again
- Sunrise at Angkor Wat and the ancient temples of the Khmer Empire
- The rock formations at Maya Bay – Phi Phi Islands on a longtail boat
The cultures, the architectures, and the foods of Southeast Asia were a great experience that we are heading back to that region of the world in May!