Five Flights to Ishigaki

The trip from Miami to Ishigaki was long, and not without its memorable moments. First, while checking in with United in Miami, I had airport security called to escort me away from the check-in counter. Having not raised my voice, and been guilty only of politely asking to have my bags checked through to Ishigaki (to avoid reclaiming in Tokyo) I stood my ground, called the ticket counter guy’s bluff and never saw security (“wait, you’re going to call security on a customer who flew 75,000 miles with your airline last year because I’m inconveniencing you to check my bags through to my final destination?”). Next, in LA I switched from United to ANA for my flight to Tokyo, and was really excited when I was paged to the counter, thinking that I was being upgraded to business class. Wrong, they were calling me up to inform me that United had delivered my luggage to them open and that they had taped it closed. They just wanted me to know that it was United and not ANA who would be responsible for anything missing. That meant I had a twelve-hour flight to Tokyo, and another two flights and seven hours to Ishigaki before I would know whether my bike was completely with me. Luckily, the gods of seat selection were with me throughout the trip, so on the five flights I was seated in an exit row (Miami to Denver – I watched Tron Legacy, which was not very good), first class (Denver to LA), a row of three to myself (for 12 hours from LA to Tokyo – the flight was less than a third full so everyone had a row to lay down in), business class with fully reclining seats (Tokyo to Okinawa – they upgraded the plane from a 767 to a 777 then apologized that they needed to move people from their previously assigned seats – the upgrade didn’t come with service, but the extra 3 hour nap was nice), and then an aisle seat with nobody next to me for the final 40 minute segment into Ishigaki – where I found my bike case fully intact with everything inside it – feeewwww!! In total it took me 31 hours from hugging my mom goodbye at the Miami airport to stepping into the Hotel Lobby in Ishigaki. I slept for at least 14 of hours of that time.

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