Inauspicious beginnings

At the gate

At the gate

For reasons I can’t quite explain (and not being willing to admit to simple procrastination), we put of actually booking our trip to Japan to less than six weeks before we were planning to leave in mid-June. Simply put: big mistake. The number of flights that were available were limited, the ticket prices where sky-high and the remaining seats were in that center row purgatory created by twin aisle jets. The thought of flying across the Pacific without a window was maddening.

We did find an airline that appeared to have lots of seats, though the ticket prices were no bargain: Air Canada Rouge. It was a new name with an airline that gave us some of the best flights across a couple of oceans. It was only a week or so after booking that I learned that this was actually Air Canada’s “bargain” airline, even though that simply meant that they had seats, not that they were particularly cheap. In fact, the flights on the days we wanted to travel, were strangely empty.

A few minutes on revealed why. This was an airline that nobody apparently wanted to fly on. Of any of the many listings I’ve seen on the site, AC Rouge had the most reviews that were removed for violating their terms of service. That did not look good. Going a bit deeper and checking SeatGuru, I learned that the flight from Vancouver BC (YVR) to Kansai (KIX), a remodeled 767, would have less space between seats than the Bombardier Dash 8 turboprop that would take us from Portland to YVR. At least we were able to afford the extra expense of the premium seats near the front of the economy section that gave us an extra seven inches of legroom.

The timing of the trip also meant that we would be landing in one of the last weeks of the rainy season, with constant and oppressive humidity, even when it wasn’t raining and great heat and humidity should the sun appear. Forecasts for Kansai to Kyushu warned of temperatures and humidity both in the 80’s. On our trip to Naha, Okinawa, they would move up to the mid-90’s. I was truly fearful of spending days in a hospital recovering from heatstroke and dehydration.

There is no country I love to visit more than Japan, but suddenly, this trip was starting to look like a train wreck. I was not happy.

(To be continued…)

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