The journey began Thursday, January 9th, leaving for the Tucson airport at 4:20 am Mountain Standard Time; arriving at our hotel, Maison D' Hanoi at 1:00 am Saturday Vietnam time by way of LA, Seoul, and finally Hanoi.
We were treated at the Tucson airport, by virtue of our wee-morning arrival time, to pre-screening (TSA) status which meant we could keep our shoes and belts on, etc. LA was not so forgiving. Not only did we need to discombobulate ourselves for TSA's approval, they rejected my suitcase because it had Allen wrenches and a 15 mm wrench in it, bike tools for reassembling my Bike Friday. The only options were to surrender the tools (not an option) or return to the check-in counter and check my bag as checked luggage. Grateful for the 5 hour layover in LA so recombobulating, discombobulating, and recombobulating myself again was not a time issue, just a significant irritation at the necessity for this whole security process.
Asiana Airlines was our carrier from LA to Hanoi. Don't know if it was about these being international flights or if Asiana just still believes in customer service. Whatever it was, it was more than pleasant and much appreciated.
We had only 20 minutes between our arrival time in Seoul and our departure for Hanoi. Seemed hopeless to expect that our luggage would make a timely transfer, but Asiana scored again.
Our last hurdle of the day was immigration/Visa/baggage claiming. We didn't do so well here. Long lines, lots of waiting, wrong line, more waiting, and somewhere in the mess and mass of lines and waiting, Kirk lost track of his suitcase and it was just GONE!
We're believers in the understanding that we don't always have a choice about what happens, but we do have a choice about how we respond to a situation. So, we came on to the hotel with only the shirt on his back and the pants on his legs with the expectation of spending our first day in Hanoi power shopping for replacements.
Much to our surprise we were awakened this morning by a phone call from the airport immigration office saying they had his suitcase and all he needed to do was come to the airport and pick it up.
So ended our Getting To Vietnam.