Stephen Craton

2013-09-24 22.26.05.jpg
  • iPhone 5
  • 4.12mm
  • f/2.4
  • 1/15 sec
  • ISO 3200

Flight to Tokyo

Sep 24, 2013 Tokyo, Japan 3 min read

The year of 2013 was a busy one for our team in Manila. We were diligently working on launching our review app project to the masses. By the end of the project, a couple of us decided to spend a week up in Tokyo.

Well, it was supposed to be a week.

The night before our flight, I spent the night like any other. Ate some Bread Pan, watched a little show, and went to bed at a decent hour. That’s why what happened the next day is all the more baffling.

I woke up to a dozen texts, phone calls, and Facebook notifications.

“Are you dead?? Where are you???”

It was 9am. Two hours past when our plane was scheduled to depart.

I was in a panic. “How did I oversleep??” I rushed out of bed and got dressed.

My phone started ringing again. It was my apartment manager.

“Your friend called me to check up on you. They thought you died or something.”

“No… I just overslept. Salamat po for checking on me though. So sorry for the hassle!”

I eventually got hold of my friends after they landed in Japan. They were so concerned I’d been kidnapped or killed. It was so unlike me to miss important events, particularly flights. They’d called everyone I knew: coworkers, friends, and of course my apartment manager who they figured would end up finding my corpse. But the reality was way more embarassing. I’d simply overslept. Though I think I was slowly dieing from the embarassment.

I swore to them I’d find a way to Japan, still, and that I’d meet them later that night. We’d booked a full week’s worth of activites and I was embarassed that it’d all go to waste. Whatever the cost, I was going to make it to Japan.

I scoured the internet for flights. Since it was same-day, and the local airlines weren’t entirely modern, nothing was showing up. I called the airport, and they said they couldn’t make any reservations on the phone for same-day flights. My only hope was to get to the airport as quickly as possible and maybe they’d have a ticket.

It was a long shot, but a worthwhile one. I threw some clothes into a bag and ran out the door. Two hours later (about a 12 mile drive) I arrive at the airport. I stand in line, slowly inching towards the ticketing counter. Checking my watch every 30 seconds, knowing my chances were narrowing.

“One ticket to Tokyo, please.”

The attendant types away at her computer. Scrolling up and down with a grim look on her face. Then a sparkle in her eye.

“Yes sir, we have one left. But it’s in 30 minutes. You better hury.”

Huzzah! I took the ticket and ran to my gate. I arrived with just a couple minutes to spare before boarding. The adrenaline from the stress was beginning to ware off. My eyes got heavy and I wanted to sleep.

“No!” I yelled at myself. “You are not sleeping again! That’s how we got in this mess in the first place!”

I decided I better just get some coffee.

The flight boarded, with me thankfully on it. Four hours later I was in Tokyo, riding through the city in a taxi on my way to the hotel. I met up with my friends, who were thankful to see me alive and that I could make it, but teased me endlessly.

Ever since then, if I have somewhere to be early in the morning, I have about 12 different alarms set. I will never let that happen again.

Written October 26, 2019