Split flying…

Note: I’m flying United, not Singapore Airlines. This is just the view from where I’m sitting at the airport.

So I’ve come to grips with it. Living in a “secondary” location… do you know what I mean? I mean not in a city like New York, Vancouver, San Fransisco, LA… or as my case would have been in the past, Toronto. These places, you can take pretty much just one flight to get almost anywhere around the world.

No, I now live in Fort McMurray, which is at least 1 stop… more likely 2 stops away from any destination. A lot of this has to do with how US Immigration works. It looks to me like the US only accepts flights from certain main “hubs” in Canada… The major cities basically. These hubs have US Border Agents working there pre-screening people before they even get to the US. This is different from Canada, where you fly here first then you go through border services.

Anyway, that means to fly anywhere in the US from Fort McMurray, you must stop by one of these major hubs… For us typically, Edmonton or Calgary. That is what I had to do since I’m flying to Tokyo via San Fransisco. This meant I had 2 stops even before I leave North America… once in Calgary, and again in San Fransisco. I’d been travelling for over 8 hours already and I still hadn’t taken my longest flight!

Now in previous years that I’d done this everything had been direct. Fort McMurray to Calgary… 1:30 hour flight, 2 hours lay over. Calgary to San Francisco… 3 hour flight,  3 hour lay over. San Francisco to Tokyo, 11 hour flight. 20:30 hours of total travel time.

But this time around, I ended up with a 13 hour lay over in San Fransisco. I arrived at 10:00pm last night. But I don’t fly out to Tokyo until 11AM this morning (2 hours from now). So, last night I stayed in a “Nap Room” here in the Airport. $140 USD for a shower and an uncomfortable bed for 8 hours. Not so bad. I did get some sleep. But next time I’ll probably spend the extra $50 to just go to a hotel.

But nevertheless, something occurred to me… I was really miserable after my Calgary-San Francisco flight last night. I don’t know if I could have handled another 11 hour flight after just a 2-hour break. So I actually like this better. This over night layover split type flying.

Of course one would say I could have just flown through Canada instead of the US… My parents for example fly to Manila direct from Toronto, with a quick stop in Vancouver to pick up more passengers (and fuel, probably). And indeed, in the past that I’ve flown through the US I’ve vowed NEVER to fly through the US again. Of course when it comes time to buy tickets again a year later, you can’t just ignore the fact that flying through Canada costs $500 more for practically the same flight (best case flying through Canada would be Fort McMurray-Calgary-Tokyo, but it could be just as stupid as Fort McMurray-Edmonton-Vancouver-Tokyo).

So here we are, waiting for my flight to Tokyo. First order of business when I get there is to withdraw some money. I have less than Y1000 on me right now. Then, I will be buying a train pass, then having some Ramen in Chiba. Woot. Sorry for the lack of images so far. As I mentioned, I was really miserable when I got here last night, so I really just booked my room, showered, and went to bed.

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