Postcard from Tokyo

Got a postcard of the cherry blossoms in Tokyo from my parents yesterday.

Why is this worthy of a post you might ask? Well, the last time I got a postcard from my parents was when I was a kid living in our 2-storey house on a quarter acre section with a vegie garden and fruit trees in very small-town NZ and they went on a trip around the South Island while Nanna and Grandad looked after us and the postcard was of the Picton Ferry. And, more amazingly, this trip to Japan is their first out of the Australia/Pacific region, let alone over the equator so it’s a pretty big deal.

Actually I did turn-around flights to Auckland on the red-eye last Monday to farewell them as a surprise. That was a pretty amazing experience – well the surprising them bit was – it’s always major warm fuzzies when you look like you’ve made someone’s day!

But the whole Air NZ electronic experience to get up and back in 4 hours was pretty cool too (if only the flights were smoother). I booked online (as normal) and used the check-in online feature for the first time – got great seats right up the front which I confirmed and then printed my own very real-looking boarding passes several days in advance for both legs. I had no hand luggage so only need to be at the airport 20 minutes before the flight and didn’t have to do anything except grab a Fuel (thank you for being open at 6am) and go straight to the gate. I did double check with the gate guy that I wasn’t supposed to do anything and indeed I wasn’t. I was a tiny bit suspicious that they might give my seat away – I mean if you don’t have to check-in physically how do they know you’re there on the day? If there are no-shows then they have empty seats that they could’ve filled. I’m sure this system wouldn’t work in the States where they seem to oversell everything. Anyway, when the flight landed in Auckland I was right up front in line to be the first off the plane (well I let the blind man in front of me go first) and I was out of the domestic terminal 5 minutes before the flight’s scheduled arrival time! All good.

Got to spend the maximum time at the airport with Mum and Dad and my sister turned up as well and we waved them off on their first overseas trip (we don’t really count Australia) just like they did for us years ago.


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