Published: January 1st 2010January 1st 2010
The flight over to Korea was a huge nightmare doted by little surprises. Leaving Toronto, 3 hours or so late was just the start. Thanks to the guy who brought fireworks onto a plane heading to Detroit on Christmas day, new security measures were put in place on all flights into the USA. My flight plan was supposed to go depart Toronto Pearson, to Chicago O'Hare to Incheon Seoul to Daegue. But at Pearson everyone was frisk searched by a security card before going on the plane and they also searched through all your carry-on luggage. We were also told that we would not be able to get up to go the bathroom during the whole flight which was about 1 hour and 30 minutes but once we were on board the pilot let us go. literally. Also before even leaving Toronto I got into a fight with a customs officer who wouldn't let me carry my carry-on luggage onto the plane because of "new security measures" I was only allowed one piece contrary to what their official rules were. So I had to rush to check a third bag, wait for someone to come to the United Airlines desk and then rush through customs again to only wait another 2 hours to board the plane. Ironic thing is, after sorting through all my luggage, picking out the thinks I absolutely thought I needed for the journey, such as books, ipod, hand sanitizer, wallet, etc I still went through customs with 2 pieces. Anyways, we finally leave Toronto and fly to Chicago where we can't land because of the snow. Apparently Chicago lands about 160 planes an hour on a normal day but the day I was flying there, it was doing about 30/hr. So we go to Indianapolis to refuel the plane and refuel our stomachs. I miss my connecting flight to Korea. Eventually we reboard the same plane and land in Chicago which is absolutely INSANITY! Almost the entire departures board is covered with "delayed" or "cancelled". Mobs of people are angry and upset and pushing each other. Every single line up is about an hours wait at least. I don't know where my luggage is. I go to the Korean airline desk to find out they are not open until tomorrow. I call them and they say go to United Airlines since they are the one's who flew me in there. I am their proble. I line up at United Airlines to hear "go to Korean Airlines. You are their problem." Eventually after I have suffered enough waiting on hold, enough lineups, enough bullshit, I strike gold. Someone who actually knows what they are talking about. Or at least has the brains to ask their superviser instead of just directly me to someone elses's customer service counter. If I can get myself to either JFK, LAX or Atlanta tonight, then Korean Air will have me on a plane to Seoul tomorrow. So I line up again. I wait and then explain to the check-in clerk the same story I have been repeating the past 3 hours. "I missed my flight because of the wait on the security checks into Chicago...blah blah blah." He responds, "No one will ever do what I am about to do for you again. But I will get you out of here tonight." He bypasses the stand by line and puts me on an open seat to LAX that is boarding as we speak. He hands me the ticket free of charge and says "Run!". So I run through security barely stopping to take off my boots to put through the xray. I get there just as the last passangers are boarding. I arrive in L.A late. I have missed the last flight to Korea and the Korean desk is just beginning to close. That's okay. I need to sleep not get on another plane right now. So I book myself a seat on the morning flight to Seoul. I inquire about where the hell my luggage might be and I am told that they have no idea. Dam! I wish I had packed at least a sweater. It's freaking cold! That night I slept on a mini couch on the top floor of the departures area. "Slept" is used here very loosely. I really just spend the night shivering under my lugg "nap sac" blanket. Thank God I bought that other wise I really would have froze. Some other details are omitted here. Like calling my dad on the verge of tears, ready to fly back to Toronto and fuck the whole thing, the homeless kid that came and slept next to me and the security officers who kicked him out in the middle of the night. Finally, the next day my flight is also delayed about 3 hours. But finally I go through another tight American security check. These people are so dam paranoid. But I guess they have a reason to be. Once on Korean Air, I feel like the president. They just kept bringing me stuff. 25 movies to choose from. This airline really does make Air Force One look like they are pushing the president around in a wheel barrow. The flight was a quick 11 hours or so. It actually went by really fast. When I arrived in Seoul I was literally shaking. So afraid of the potential further mayham I was about to experience. But good news is 2 of my 3 checked bags did make it so that was a lot better than nothing. I had again just missed the last flight of the day that I needed to take. But that was fine because I was dangerously sleep deprived again at this point. The check-in girl tells me I can sleep in the airport spa. Sweet. I take the elevator down and I pay like 27 000 won and I am given two oversized beach towels and led into a private room with a cushioned bench. This is where I am to sleep. From here I have full access to the hot tub, sauna and glory yes! shower. It's all women here. All Korean, except for an older white women. They are all naked. So whatever, I get naked too and walk around. When in Rome right?....The shower felt so good. Sooooo wonderfully deliciously good. I am so thankful for the few pieces of clothing that I do have. I sleep a glorious deep sleep and wake up at 5:30am the next day to catch my early morning flight to Daegue and to call my director who by the sound of her voice has been very anxious to meet the new English teacher who is 2 days late.