After 17 days I said goodbye to my friends from Tokyo hostel and Tokyo itself as I boarded the 80 minute train to Narita international airport. I was happy to be heading towards the sun and to be potentially settling down in one place which meant no more carrying my now super heavy backpack! But Japan had other plans for me!
I took an early train as I wanted to be there early and all checked in, considering iv had some bad luck in the past with missing flights due to delays! So this time I would be there early and relax! I checked in for my 8:25pm flight with jetstar at 5:30pm in the hopes of chilling out on the other side. Upon reaching the desk with my passport, printed ticket and even an email invoice of the flight (which I didn't think I would need) I was left standing there for almost 15 minutes as the lady walked up and down with my passport and ticket and spoke to numerous people! With no obvious problem I continued to wait, as you do! Eventually she told me my name wasn't on the system and I had to go to the deceive desk which I did! After two hours of arguing, debating, crying, pleading and listening to people telling me I could not board this flight repeatedly because apparently my ticket was not paid for. Which I knew was a complete lie as I had booked all my flights before I had left and even had an invoice! When the time came, the check in closed and I was left with no options but to call home and explain the situation!
Thankfod for wifi, skype and what's app which I used to contact home. My mam who was super helpful as always, and seems to be used to these situations from my travels! As a similar situation happened us in Bahrain leaving me stranded in the Middle East! Nevertheless because she loves me, she did her best to contact the agency I booked through while I emailed them. Soon enough I got a reply from them saying they would put me on a flight the next day with China Southern airways, but no explanation about what had happened to my current ticket?
I slept in the airport that night (maybe 2 hours) but because of the time difference I had to stay awake to be I contact with my mam and the agency! The agency never emailed me back to confirm a new flight and so I had no idea what was happening! With the time difference I knew that their offices were then closed and wouldn't reopen until the next day, well after the flight was gone!
Feeling so frustrated I decided to check flights and even considered flying to Brisbane to stay with a friend for a few days but this meant getting an oz tourist visa which wouldn't be guaranteed for 48hrs- too late! I applied anyway thru a company who put an 'urgent' message on it! The only option was to hang around all night and day to see which came first, the visa or the new flight... But neither came! And I was shattered and hopeless! As was my poor mam!
With no hope left for the travel agency to get back to me or the visa company, I decided to book the expensive flight to Auckland with China southern airlines! Feeling broke but slightly relieved to be going somewhere, I waited until 1pm and took the bus to the other terminal to make sure I was on the flight to Auckland! When I got there the girl checked and said yes your final destination is Auckland? I said yes completely relieved! I had been afraid my name wouldn't come up because I had booked it so soon!
When I went to check in to my second potential flight to nz, I felt a strong sense of déjà vu while I stood there watching the lady pace up and down asking people questions in Japanese. I thought, oh god no this can't possibly happen me twice, even after forking out all that money! After debating for ages, the told me that I didn't have a proper e ticks and that I needed a certain one which the travel agent had nt sent me! After much communication with the agent, I was repeatedly told this was all I needed for the flight but nevertheless I was refused again! With help from my mam once again we contacted the Irish embassy who got involved and called the airlines but were no help at all! It was obviously the stupid agencies fault! A different agency to the first flight by the way! Very legit agencies whom I always use and who everybody knows!
By the time I finished speaking with them the check in had closed and I had yet lost another flight! I couldn't take any more of this! Oh and did I mention they even asked me to fork out $2000usd to get a new ticket! As if! With no options left, I looked for a hostel I had found online which was cheap and close to the airport where I could get a proper rest, but it was booked out and there were no others available in narita at all! I then found a cheap hotel which seemed exactly what I needed for the night so I booked it, took a free bus outside directly to it!
After checking in, I did all my laundry, showered, put on my complimentary kimono and went to bed at 6:30pm! After waking up at 8am, I packed my bag got ready for whatever the day had in store for me and checked my emails. 23 emails, a dozen what's apps and god knows how many fb msgs waited for me! The great news was that the original agency had booked me onto a new flight with China Southern today which would take me to Guangzhou and on to Sydney! They then booked me a flight from Sydney to Auckland meaning I would arrive the following evening after over 24hrs in transit! I didn't care, once I was transitting somewhere and my final destination was Auckland I was happy! I couldn't believe how my luck had changed! Everything turned out fine, the original flight was apparently cancelled back in May when I booked it and no one told me not refunded me, but I have now got a new flight! The China Southern flight was refunded also as it was their fault they sent me the wrong e ticket to check in and in the end I am well rested, have met a friend in the airport from Tokyo hostel and am ready to head to Auckland no matter how many hours it will take!
It's funny, when I went to check in to China Southern again today I saw the same woman from yesterday who had tried to help me. She came over, said hello and spoke Japanese to the guy checking me in. From that moment iv got special treatment! They put me in a seat closer to the door so I can transit easier (first class would have been better but whatever), provided me with two veggie meal options for both flights, have given me a badge to wear so somebody in China can take me to my connecting flight (weird?) and gave me a voucher for duty free! They could have done a bit better but I'm at the gate and about to start my transit to NZ so things couldn't be better!
Thanks to so many of my friends both in Tokyo and around the world for their concern and help! Everybody was so empathetic towards the crazy situation and helped me through a very stressful time! But in the end karma pulled through and positivity won overall!
Konnichiwa New Zealand!