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Very fast planes January 15, 2010

Filed under: Vietnam — polyachka @ 8:08 am
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During last 30 days I managed to get a personal leave of absence from work, get 3 months multiple visa to Vietnam, convince my friend to use his miles to issue a reward ticket for me to Saigon, receive 5 XOs from OLPC, reflash them and update software. On Monday I was still packing, meeting friends, and I thought I was in good shape, and had enough time to finish everything at leisurely pace for my departure on Wednesday… Just when you think everything is under control, life comes with surprises. Somehow I didn’t really figure out time difference between Boston and Saigon. Did I have to know it? Not really. One step at a time… I’d figure it out when I get there. Somehow light cloud of suspicion was in the back of my mind: from my ticket confirmation I will be leaving San Fran at 11AM on the 14th of Jan and will be arriving at 11PM just in time to stay overnight and then go to the orientation for volunteers in the morning of Jan 15. It sounded too quick. One of possible explanations was really high technology, wow, planes are really fast nowadays! But then, when I looked up time difference, it was exactly 12 hours, meaning that I’m in the air for 0 hours 0 minutes, ” like it never happened”. That was puzzling. Could my electronic confirmation be wrong? Did they mess up my arrival and departure times??? I didn’t know what to think…

It was Monday when I got my trip itinerary in the mail. The only difference between electronic and non-electronic confirmation was that paper version had not only times but dates of arrival – and it is 11Pm on Jan 15! The following day!!! I’ll be in the air 24 hours instead of 0! Now it sounded too much. What is up with new technology and speedy planes??? I was in shock as it meant that VPV people will be meeting me at the airport the day earlier and I’ll be missing my first orientation day, which was critical (they give orientation only two times per month). And I though I’ve planned everything so thoroughly…

I had to call United immediately explaining my problem and the need to change my flight to one day earlier. Original flight via Hong Kong was all booked for tomorrow! After considerable negotiation with customer service rep and then her supervisor, I managed to book another flight via Shanghai, only arriving two hours later than originally thought with no additional fees…

To be honest, I was not packed at all… And I had to pack not just for the trip but pack all content of my whole room I was renting to move out and put everything into storage. From what I learned in consulting, always plan for contingency! Instead of 48 hours, I only had 24.

I had to email VPV about my flight change, and call hotel in San Fran to move my reservation to one day earlier. I the next 24 hours I had to do everything in an accelerated mode and be more efficient and selective. I canceled some meetings but still met with co-workers for lunch, backed up files, return work computer, and finally finished packing…

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