We were scheduled to fly out of Narita Airport on Dec 31st at 6 p.m. and arrive in Denver the same day at 3 p.m. (woo!! time travel!!)
Hanging out at Narita, waiting for the check in counter to open.
However, when we went to go check in we were met with some rather unpleasant news; the flight from Seattle had not come in and so they had no plane to send back. Our flight had been cancelled D:
The ticketing agent searched for a good 10 minutes before she found something for us. There was only one option if we wanted to get out of there that day. There was a flight leaving at midnight but it was leaving from Haneda airport 2 1/2 hours away. Seeing as how we had quite a few plans for New Years Day there was really no choice. They chartered a bus for us and anyone else that wanted to take this midnight flight, and also gave us some meal vouchers. So we went and had dinner before boarding the bus to Haneda Airport. It was around 8 p.m. when we got to Haneda, and they had a few special events going on for New Years Eve. They had an orchestra playing and they were doing a big mochi tsuki (sticky rice cake making) event. Yosei was pretty excited cuz he loves mochi :)
We wandered the airport for a couple hours before the check-in counter opened up. That all went pretty smoothly, as did security and customs. Once past customs the kids were pleasantly surprised to find a little play area just for them. Pretty awesome for us too, since we got to tire them out a bit before boarding. We boarded around 11:45 p.m. and got to spend out first Happy New Year on the airplane.
Our flight was awesome, we had the entire center row by the wall all to ourselves! So even though Keia was a lap child we had a seat for her. And both she and Yosei were able to stretch out and lie down. Yosei has some sensory issues when it comes to loud noise (preemie thing) and I was really worried about how he would react to the plane, but he was actually really excited (even though at first he did not want to get on because he had his heart set on riding a bullet train). The best part of the midnight flight turned out to be that the kids slept almost the entire 9 hour flight!
Unofrtuantely we had to fly into L.A. instead of Seattle. What a depressing airport to fly into. It takes like 10 minutes to walk down this long delapidated hallway to get to customs. Kind of gave you the feeling of being shipped off to prison, the only nice thing the entire march there was a portrait of the President that greats you at the beginning of the death march. They really should fix the place up a little bit because it really doesn't give a good first impression of the country.
Anyhow we got through customs, had to re-check in, go back through security and take a bus to tthe tiniest terminal I've ever seen. The flight was so completely full that we had some seating issues, they put Yosei all by himself 13 rows in front of us :/ Kiyo could have taken the seat, but with his English ability I wasn'T so sure that was a good idea either. The agent at the gate was really nice and worked up until the last minute to work something out for us, eventually we got it so Kiyo was sitting one row in front of us. Turns out it was a teeny tiny plane and we had to valet check our carry-ons. We finally arrived in Denver around 12:15a.m., meaning we spent a second Happy New Year on an airplane. This made Yosei think that every time we got on a plane we had to say 'Happy New Year' hehehe.
The acqtual getting there turned out to be so long I think I'll save the actual trip for next time.