Getting back to Tokyo

Trip Start Jan 02, 2013
Trip End Mar 17, 2013

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Where I stayed
APA Hotel Keisei Narita Ekimae
Read my review - 2/5 stars

Flag of Japan  , Kanto,
Sunday, February 3, 2013

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In spite of the hotel forgetting my wake-up call, I woke up in time to check out and catch a taxi to the airport in time for my flight. Things were starting off well. Then when I checked my bags I was told I'd have to claim them in Shanghai and check them back in. That pretty much dashed my hopes of getting on the Maglev during the period it runs at top speed.

The flight to Shanghai was uneventful. After we arrived I headed for baggage claim. I got my bags and headed for the nearby check-in desk. Around this time I discovered that the handle on my carry-on bag would no longer collapse. I got my bags checked in and then I started looking for someone with a screwdriver so I could attempt to address my suitcase problem.

I found an office that had some tools. It didn't look like the bag could be easily repaired but we did find a way to collapse the handle. Unfortunately, after it was collapsed there was no way to extend it again. Since I cannot lift all of my bags at once I have been moving them by balancing two of them on the wheeled bag but this won't be possible without the handle.

The bag is hard to move without the handle extended.  I dragged the bag toward my gate. Along the way I came across a checkpoint where they wanted to weigh my carry-on luggage. Their carry-on weight limit is 5kg per bag.  My wheeled bag is 6 or 7kg empty so
unless I had packed helium balloons it was going to be over their limit.  The woman told me that both my wheeled bag and my backpack were too heavy and I couldn't go to my gate without getting a signature from the airline. 

The woman who told me I needed a signature told me I could go to a China Eastern Airlines office on the second floor. I headed there but I couldn't find their office anywhere. I eventually went back into the transfer area on the first floor. I eventually found a supervisor and got him to sign my boarding pass. I, again, headed for my gate.

I reached my gate and there was no plane. At this point I only knew the boarding time, which was on my boarding pass, and didn't know the scheduled departure time.  It was well past the boarding time and for all I knew the flight could have left.  I eventually noticed that there was a sign saying that the gate had been changed. I headed for the new gate. When I arrived there the departure time was posted as 17:00. It was 16:59. Luckily for me, the plane was late.

I sat around for about 45 minutes before our plane was ready for boarding. It was another 45 minutes before it pushed back and another 30 minutes or so until we took off. I was happy to be on the plane.

I got to Tokyo, got through immigration and customs and tried to find my hotel's airport shuttle. It turns out it only runs during limited hours and was already done for the day. The hotel is near a train station but I couldn't easily take a train since I couldn't wheel my luggage around and you can't take a luggage cart into the train station. I took a taxi. It cost over 3,200 yen. The hotel room only cost about 5,400 yen. When I checked in I found out it wasn't going to be running the next morning either, which would cost me another 3,200 yen. The taxi fees I expected to avoid by getting a hotel with an airport shuttle wound up being more than the cost of the room due to the limited hours of the shuttle.  I checked in at 11:30.  I asked for a 3:00 wake-up call.  My room was next to the elevator shaft.  It sounded sort of like Pink Floyd's Welcome To the Machine in my room.
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