When I made my airline reservation, I had specifically stated that my return ticket must
allow me to depart from either Tokyo or Nagoya. I had selected a flight that originated
in Nagoya and stopped in Tokyo, and this would allow me to simply catch the plane in
Tokyo, if my travel plans had me in Tokyo at the end of my trip.
Sounds simple enough, right? Well, Northwest Airline did not agree. They said that if I did not get on the plane in Nagoya, I would have the honor of buying another ticket for my return flight.
This meant I would be getting up at 5 AM, navigating a subway train, a commuter train,
then a shinkansen, and finally a two hour bus ride from the shinkansen station in Nagoya
to the airport.
"Happy" was not a word to describe this situation.
So, it was an early rise and departure from Tokyo. Ms. Okabe was nice enough to
escort me through the adventure of navigating my way through the subway and commuter
train rides and the labyrinth stations between each.
We bid a tearful goodby at the shinkansen station and I made my way back to Nagoya.
I arrive at the Nagoya Airport, walk up to the KLM/Northwest Airline counter, and
they inform me that the plane they were forcing me to meet in Nagoya, had been lost
over Saipan. I am sure it didn't crash, but the Japanese staff stated in English
"Plane lost over Saipan". I'm guessing they misplaced it, sort of like the rest of
us loose our car keys.
They started rescheduling me on a dozen different flights, didn't quite care if I approved or not, but they were going to route me through Los Angeles, Tampa, Dallas, and I think they had one that took me through New York.
About this point, it occurred to me that they were being such hard asses to demand that I travel from Tokyo to Nagoya to meet a plane that they didn't even have. And I was pretty pissed off about it. I suggested that they compensate me in some way, by either upgrading my ticket or returning some of my money. The clerk feigned that he spoke only Japanese and ignored me, though only minutes earlier he was speaking perfect English.
My protests and demands for a refund were ignored and I was shoved past the security check point and onto a plane headed to Detroit.
Instead of the window seat I had reserved, I was placed in the middle seat, in the middle of the center aisle, a screaming child in the row in front of me, and the child seated behind me seemed convinced that the back of my seat needed to be kicked for eleven hours straight.
I arrived in Detroit, and sought out an English speaking representative of Northwest. I found a manager named "Connie". She could not be less concerned with my situation. There was no office, despite the fact that Detroit is Northwest Airline's hub in North America. It took a lot of arm twisting before she would admit that I could contact someone at their central office (probably somewhere far away from any airport), via the "Black Telephone". Meanwhile, I started asking about the location of my luggage. Several hours and many telephone calls later, I discovered that the baggage staff had stalled me and refused to tell me that my luggage had been loaded onto another plane, and they had told me this over an hour after the departure of my flight. Then they brushed me aside and refused to discuss the matter with me further. When I refused to end the discussion and pursued the matter, I was told by the Northwest Baggage Staff that I was thrown out of the terminal and should not return.
I took the airport shuttle bus to another terminal and bought a ticket on
Southwest Airlines, and my final travel time from Nagoya to St. Louis, a trip that should
have taken 11-12 hours, had taken 23 hours.
When I arrived, I went to the main terminal in St. Louis to retrieve the luggage that Northwest Airlines had refused to return to me, and found it unattended and abandoned in the hallway in the basement of the terminal. Very nice, in that luggage on international flights can not be locked so that it can be inspected by security.
I picked up my luggage and was assaulted by a Northwest Airline employee, who then challenged me to go outside to fight. I had apparently awakened him from his sleep, he was supposed to be guarding all that luggage that Northwest Airlines had abandoned in the unsecured, not enclosed, unlocked, hallway in the basement of the airport.
And after all this, Northwest airlines has refused to return any money to me, or even
apologize, offering only little coupons for future travel on their airline.
So that they can hijack me, steal my luggage, and assault me again...
Click here to go back to the Visiting Japan for the 2006 Gemini Owners Meeting Index Page.