I'm sitting in the Tower Office of de-I-Holm, looking over the snow covered Sandia Mountains and thinking "Wasn't I just in a hawker mall eating Malaysian Noodle Soup in 90 degree Singapore a couple of days ago?"
The trip home took 28 hours from leaving #2's demesnes in Manila to setting foot in The Tower in Albuquerque. And it was ANOTHER EPIC DE-I / MAGICAL UNICORN PONY GOD OF TRAVEL BATTLE!
I believe the permanently juvenile horned equine demigod thought that de-I was going to be easy pickings. Maybe the little deity thought that just because de-I hasn't been doing the heavy duty business travel he has done in the past that he had lost his edge. I will tell you the tale and you can make your own judgment.
MUPGT announced its intentions immediately when I got an email from Delta Airlines the night before we left telling me that the Tokyo to LA leg or our flight was going to be two and a half hours late. As we needed to not just change planes but change airlines in LA meaning we have to change entire terminals. This took our time period between flights from four and a half hours to two hours. Enough time in theory if the Pony with Horns had no more tricks up its hooves.
On Saturday morning the battle began in earnest. Pulandia was relocating and as a result they were shipping out on the same flight as us. This meant their entire menage - 5 people, 2 pets in air carriers, and 15 bags needed to be transported along with Wife, I and our 4 bags. She had ordered from the Embassy motor pool 2 vans to be sure that there was enough space for everything. One showed up! How were we going to get all of us and our gear to the airport? This was a blatant attempt by MUPGT to disrupt our entire trip right at the start. (Maniacal laughter from Pony God).
After only a brief moment of panic, 2B came up with the solution of taking out two of the rows of seats out of the van (leaving two). They were able to put all of the bags and animal crates in the back and with 2.1 sitting on the dog crate, 2.2 on Wife's lap, and 2.3 on my lap, we made it to Manila airport with plenty of time. ("Blast that resourceful 2B!")
The five hour flight to Tokyo was uneventful. While the Unicorn Minor Pantheon member was thinking that we would have the discomfort of a five hour layover, he forgot that I am a member of a major airline club that we were able to make use of the facilities of ("Pah de-I, that is small potatoes. Wait until you get to LA and see my real powers. Bwahahahaha")
The actual flight 10 hour flight from Tokyo to LA was uneventful. We were actually even later taking off but they were able to make up some time en route. We rolled up to the gate at LAX just about 10:30, the projected arrival time. From this point, I will present the play-by-play of the climatic part of the battle. The blows by the Magical Unicorn Pony God of Travel are in italics
Unicorn Pony God causes us to sit for an extra 15 minutes just before the gate waiting for a tug to bring us in. More valuable time lost
de-I makes use of Global Entry membership to whisk through Immigration with barely any time elapsed. Big time savings.
After we get our bags there is only one person at Customs and he is going incredibly slowly. Potential for major time loss.
Another customs officer arrives and announces "Global Entry people to me". We are through!
We just miss the shuttle bus that will take us to the terminal for Southwest Airlines another valuable 15 minutes lost waiting for the next one.
We arrive at the Southwest terminal where we need to check in our bags. THE LINE TO CHECK IN IS HUMUNGOUS! It goes out the door and down to the next terminal. At this point we have one hour left. All appears lost. ("Bwahahahahahaha. There is no way he will make his flight. With the overbooked Christmas flights he'll be in LA for days. Days you hear me de-I!")
Now the part that will be sung by road warriors in their ballads for ages to come.
de-I is not the frequent flyer he is for nothing. He has worked all through this year to get his newly minted A-List frequent flyer status on Southwest. Leaving Wife with the bags in the line, he does a reconnaissance in force going around all those standing in line to the far other end of the terminal on the theory that there is a priority check-in area with a smaller line. There is! He returns to Wife. They bring their bags back all the way around all the waiting people and are let into the priority check in line WHERE THERE IS NO ONE WAITING! ("Take that you foul excuse for a minor deity!" "Wha! This can't be!). Lickity split our bags are checked in. We go to security where they look at my A-List status and put us into the TSA-Pre line WHERE NO ONE IS WAITING! In just minutes we are through security and safely available for our flight with 20 minutes to spare.
The Travel God just for spite caused our flight to Albuquerque to be 30 minutes late but that was to no meaningful effect. Victory was ours.
Except for the effects of 28 hours of travel and jet lag.