Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Long Journey Home

And we're back (home). Still waiting for our bags. They did not make the transition from Turkish Airlines to US Airways in Toronto. We barely made it ourselves. According to US Air online status, they are "processed for delivery" so we hope to unpack later today (12 JUN).

Toronto?  Yep. Our planned flights home: Skopje to Istanbul to Toronto to Charlotte to Raleigh. The first two segments on Turkish Airlines, the last two on US Air. However, the Toronto to Charlotte flight was diverted - euphemism for emergency landing? - to Pittsburgh with a possible a fuel gauge indicator light problem. Even though US Air flew in a replacement plane, we arrived in Charlotte too late to catch our connecting flight to Raleigh. So we spent the night on the carpet near Departures, taking the 7:39 AM flight to RDU.

Dawn comes early in Skopje in June, about 4:30 am so we had no trouble getting up at 6:10 for final packing. An easy 5 minute walk to the bus station. The airport bus arrived on time at 7:10 and we were at the airport at 7:40 with plenty of time to check-in for our 9:05 flight to Istanbul. At first glance, it was a very long line to check-in, but as normal in this part of the world, there were many more folks there to "see off" than to travel. So less than twenty minutes later we had a fist full of boarding passes, our bags were checked all the way to RDU, immigration and security were behind us, and we were at the gate awaiting our flight.

We liked Turkish Airlines. Check-in was easy and we did not have to arrive 2 hours before departure. The planes were new and the vegetarian meals tasty. And on the personal In-flight Entertainment, one can view the feed from the two cameras mounted on the front of the plane PiP, and watch tons of movies. We both thought Nebraska was poor and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty good. Not to mention that on the Istanbul to Toronto leg we had some incredible views of southern Greenland.

The transfer from Turkish Airlines to US Air at Person Airport in Toronto was not straight forward. As international transit passengers we expected a leisurely walk from our arrival gate to our departure gate but since the US Air gates and Turkish Air gates are in different terminals, we unexpectedly had to enter Canada, pass Customs, claim our bags and recheck them, and exit Canada. In addition, US Immigration and Customs takes place in Canada, not in Charlotte. The result: due to poor directions and  information along with a short layover, we made it on to the Charlotte bound flight but our bags did not.

A few more thoughts:  Without going into details, we are not happy with how US Airlines handled our diversion and sleepover. However George the baggage claim guy at RDU was super. Thanks! And thanks to the two men who let me borrow their mobile phones to update our airport pickup person - Thanks Joel! - on our delays.

REAL-TIME UPDATE: Just got a call from the folks who will deliver our bags in two hours. Woohoo!

Istanbul Ataturk Airport


Crash Eddy said...

Welcome home! Glad you arrived safe and sound. Good luck with luggage.

john said...

@Crash - Bags are in hand. Contents intact.

Kathy said...

Welcome home! (Hope your AC is working well...) Sounds like quite a trek! So glad your bags have made it.

john said...

@Kathy - Thanks! Bags are unpacked. Most laundry is done. We've been out to HT. The AC is working though not too hard. Life is good. See you soon! -john

DayleInNC said...

And I'd like to add a belated Welcome Back, too! Glad you made it back safe and sound. :)