Balance and Schedule

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Spent the wee hours of the morning packing my luggage for the trip back to Japan before dozing off for five hours of sleep. I popped out of bed, cleaned up a little, got some grub, and we headed out for the airport. Two hitches came up.

First, I had been planning my entire schedule based on making my flight a little after 12:30. I arrived at Sea-Tac thinking I was around two hours early, but saw noone in line and both domestic and international check-in were still being handled at one set of counters. I knew something was off. Scanning my passport into the e-ticket machine revealed my mistake: departure time – 2:35pm. I mentioned my planning basis many times over the week. One person indicated that they knew the actual departure time, yet they never mentioned it. I guess they like to see me run around in circles.

Anyhow, this is a pretty minor slip. I used a big chunk of that time hanging out with my folks. Certainly making an error in the opposite direction would have been disastrous.

My second hitch was a balance problem. NWA will let me check two bags up to 50 pounds each for free. On my last trip I spent a few hours the last evening shifting items between my check and carry-on bags trying to get it all balanced. This time I didn’t use a scale, but just guessed at the weights of things as I put them in place. Wanting sleep pushed me down that path.

One bag weighed in about 46 pounds and one about 54. Given the fact that I was four hours early, I suppose I could have done some more shuffling; however, I just let it go and paid the overweight bag fee.

Also along the scheduling lines, I learned something new. If you want to fly over Russian airspace, you need permission. Actually we all learned this in 1983 when they shot down KAL007, but apparently NWA is so cautious they won’t leave Seattle until the flight plan is approved. Now that planes have enough range to avoid stopping off in Anchorage, the great circle routes don’t use Russian airspace. Our flight was delayed on the tarmac and the crew found they could make up time following air currents over Kamchatka, so we sat a little longer waiting for Russia to give us clearance. We made up some time, but I still had to hustle through Narita to make my connection.

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