Airport beyond departures and arrivals – 03.23-24.16
With Japan being more known for things other than beaches, my trip to Okinawa last year was something I looked forward to more. It was also a gift to self as I turn 3-0. But life sometimes has an odd play with us that this trip had its rough parts – from being a shortened one to unexpected delays and mishaps as I was checking in at the airport which made me miss my flight that I had to take a reroute.
That reroute took me back to Taiwan for a night – the very same airport I was in just the previous month – except that I had more time to discover that there can be more to this space beyond departures and arrivals.
Que horror! moments at the airport
One of the many things I am particular about when traveling is getting to the airport with more than enough time than advised. In anticipation of the worst, in most cases I do arrive even before the check-in counters open. Naturally then, that was the game plan on that day.
Upon arrival at the airport, I was welcomed with this sight of a terribly long line for check-in. Of course I hated the waiting, but since I knew I was early and all I had to do is move quick after checking in, I was not as worried.
The real horror happened though when I was right at the counter when the ground crew asked for the credit card I used to buy the ticket. That was the first time that that happened to me and it could have been a non-issue except that what I used for the transaction is an e-shopping card that’s linked to my actual credit card – and that is quietly sitting in one of my drawers at home. I explained and discussed alternatives with the crew – like calling my bank so they can verify the connection between the two accounts. But that was not acceptable.
I had to choice but to go back home then, wasting my almost an hour of waiting in line. As I was about to leave, I could hear a group of friends talking to someone on the phone asking them to bring the card to the airport. I was not alone, apparently. A key difference though is that they have someone at home who can bring them what they need.
I did some mental calculation and though really tight that chances are I would be at the counter as it closes, I decided to go back at my studio to get it. On my way home, I was feeling emotional I was quietly crying while on my way back to airport, I was more in ‘let’s-accept-this-and-just-think-alternatives’ mode. I told the driver I was in a hurry but in this scenario, it was traffic situation that’s king and with all the construction happening at the airport road then, well, you kind of know what will be ending to this story.
Counter was closed when I arrived. I asked around and was told to go to the airline’s ticketing office to ask for options. While I was at their office, I could hear my flight’s last call for boarding. Boohoo. Okay a reminder for my day gone wrong. More mishap when I learned that there was no other flight that day. Worse, I had another flight with another airline the next morning – a flight had gone through several date changes already.
I was feeling so bad and losing hope that I almost gave up on this trip. This was the Holy Week in the Philippines so I was expecting most flights to be fully booked, if not really extra expensive. However, I thought of all the fighting I had to for this trip so giving up is not an option.
I cannot recall now how it happened but I found myself in a local airlines office booking my flight. It hurt wallet, yes, but I just felt grateful for a seat on a flight on schedule that will not make me miss my other plane to Okinawa. (I ended up taking the same flight option from my original airline in code-sharing with the local one)
After all the chaos is some time for beer
The minute I passed by the final security check, I knew I deserve some beer. Luckily, there was a quiet cafe on my way to the boarding gate. I thought to self – finally something good happening today.
Day that was – from a ‘brighter’ perspective
Comfort food (because yes, I love airplane food)
Exploring Taipei Airport’s themed lounges
I arrived in Taipei at night and had to spend the rest of it before my early morning flight to Okinawa the following day. Luckily, it is that kind of airport friendly to passengers like me.
Initially it was just the free fast wifi that I liked (because yes, I rely too much on the Internet to ease boredom) but while walking around, I discovered fun walls, this mini-museum of quirky mixed media sculptures and various themed lounges.
Hello again, Taoyuan International Airport
Wall of places around the globe
This site of colorful monsters
My name right there
There’s more in here than HELLO KITTY GATE
I’ve read somewhere that there is popular gate in this airport inspired by Hello Kitty. My walk that night, however, led me to discovering other equally interesting themed gates – each of which almost empty I could just choose which ones to sleep in.
* All about music
* Hello, Kitty
* Fully booked
* Last full show
Even gate seats as if those in cinemas
How that airport had been to me that night
It was about 5AM when I went down to my actual boarding gate.
This time just my waiting lounge
Then it was all snooze as soon I step on the plane.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kristina Correa (or more known to almost all people in her life as Teng) is based on the city of Manila in the Philippines and whenever she can, cools off with routine and gets her doses of happy someplace else. She doesn’t mean to inform and help plan (as obvious with her laziness with details) but hopes her stories and photos can inspire you to create your own.