Arriving from Seoul (Incheon) at Narita Airport, Tokyo, Japan, we caught a glimpse through the windows of a Fedex MD-11 jet upside down, in pieces, charred, and smoking on the main runway. My heart goes out to the families of the two pilots who were killed in the accident.
Tokyo was a meant to be a quick stop on the way back from Phuket, Thailand, after 12 amazing days in the sun and the most beautiful wedding on a secluded beach that I’ve ever seen (and had the honour to be part of).
So Courtney (my buddy’s daughter who was traveling back with me from her mom’s and stepdad’s wedding in Thailand) trekked a mile through Narita Airport to find the Air Canada counter. Once we got there it surprisingly (sarcasm) led to the following answers to our questions:
- this isn’t out fault, the runway is closed, you’re on your own
- no, we don’t know where your bags are
- no, we can’t help you find a hotel or transportation
- no, we don’t know when you can fly out
- no, we can’t help you but please call this phone number to try to rebook a flight home
- no, this isn’t our problem, you’re on your own for all expenses
In the end we collaborated with a fantastic guy who was in a similar predicament, Kia Karimi, from Dunkin’ Donuts, and with the help of a very pleasant ANA agent, my Macbook Air and Skype, we figured out hotels, transportation, the location of our baggage and flights home two days later.
Now for fun, let’s contrast this with what WestJet did when the Vancouver Airport was shutdown by snow in January (also not their fault):
- they bought pizza for all of their passengers stranded at YVR
- they figured out hotels and transportation for each passenger
- here’s the cool part: THEY PAID FOR ALL OF THIS (food, hotels, and transportation) to the tune of $2,000,000
It’ll be interesting to see what happens to Air Canada when Virgin decides to fly domestically in Canada. Between their culture and WestJet’s it’ll be interesting to see where that leaves Air Canada.
Side note: now as it turned out we had an absolute blast touring around Tokyo going to Akihabara (electronics market) and Harajuku (yes, from the Gwen Stefani song), seeing a movie, having great dinners, and marvelling at how amazingly polite, accommodating, and helpful Japanese people are and how Tokyo is a city steeped in culture and remarkably clean for a major city of 13,000,000 people.