Friday, August 5, 2011
The Flight & Arrival in Bangkok
Our trip to Bangkok was split into 3 legs - DC to San Fran, San Fran to Tokyo and Tokyo to Bangkok. We left DC at 8:15 am on Wednesday, July 20th and arrived in Bangkok at 11:00 pm on Thursday, July 21st. It was a very long trip but all of the flights were on time and we made all of our connections with time to spare. We were even able to watch the dogs de-planed in Tokyo! United was very good about having a flight attendant find us on the plane before each take-off and confirm that the dogs were on board with us.
When we moved from Australia back to the US, I hired a company to move the dogs. They did EVERYTHING... medical checks, government approvals, travel and boarding arrangements, etc. I only had to have the dogs ready to go on the morning we left Australia and pick them up in NY a week later. Easy-peasy. This time, I decided to do it myself and discovered exactly why I paid a huge sum of $$$ to have someone else arrange and manage their travel. I cannot tell you how much sleep I lost and how much I worried over getting these dogs to Bangkok. In the end, everything worked out as it was supposed to and I can only say great things about United and their pet transport system.
The kids, as usual, traveled very well and settled themselves right in for each flight. They even managed to sleep a fair bit on the Tokyo to Bangkok portion of the trip. Kevin and I caught up on some movies, magazines and (not so much) sleep.
Our landing in Bangkok was exactly on-time even though we did hit some bad weather. The airport is very new and is supposed to have the largest international terminal in the world. Knowing this, I was surprised as we de-planed right on to the tarmac and then had to walk a bit to catch a people-mover and travel about 10 minutes to the terminal building. This was the same thing Kevin and I did when we visited Bangkok in January and I thought then that it was just temporary given the "newness" of the airport but I guess this is how all arrivals are handled. Compared to all of the new construction at Dulles Airport and what Dulles is becoming, it was a bit odd to see a "new" airport that was not really so "modern".
We were met right inside the terminal by Kevin's predecessor, his deputy and some representatives from the Embassy. I must say it was a HUGE benefit to have the Embassy reps handle our arrival and all of the customs/immigration details. We were whisked right through the official checkpoints and to the baggage claim in no time at all. All of our luggage arrived and one of the reps took all of the dogs' documentation from me and, a very short while later, returned with the dogs. We couldn't take the dogs out of their crates but they were very happy to see us and seemed no worse for the wear. The rep also returned a pile of paperwork to me - all very official looking and written in Thai (although I recognized Kevin's name written here and there throughout the papers) - and told me that we will need those documents to export the dogs back to the US. I have no idea what those papers say or mean but I will guard them with my life!
The drivers loaded the luggage, dogs and all of us into two vans and we headed for our new home.
Next Up... Nichada Thani