Last week, I had the opportunity to fly EVA Air’s Hello Kitty plane, unfortunately I was very close to missing that opportunity. You see, a friend and I were booked on a 10pm United flight out of Washington-Dulles, which was scheduled to arrive just before 11pm into Chicago-O’Hare. Check-in for our Hello Kitty flight was supposed to close at 11:30, so that didn’t leave a whole lot of time. But that is what United’s award booking engine kicked out, so we figured we were well within Minimum Connect Time (MCT).
Weather Delay in Chicago left us grounded in Washington
Our United flight boarded roughly on time, and the captain announced that he was trying to get out before the FAA issued any ground stops; we hustled. Correction: most of us that understood what that meant, hustled. We even left the gate a minute early! but, unfortunately we were stuck with a ground stop at Dulles.
I have to say, what happened next reminded me of why I used to enjoy flying United. The captain came out and started inviting kids from economy to see the cockpit. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo, but, I did tweet about the matter:
As the children were getting to visit the cockpit, I was sending a map to my cohort for this Hello Kitty flight. We already had an idea of the gate that we would arrive at (B2), so I sent him the map from the Hemisphere’s Magazine, letting him know which way we would need to run.
The above depiction shows where we arrived, an the path we had to run, catching the train roughly at the TSA PreCheck area, then sweating the entire train ride until we arrived at Terminal 5. I’m not the most athletic person, but I will tell you, I ran full bore with my favorite spinner carry-on (which was operating as a normal 2 wheel suitcase given the speed I was going). There are few times that I actually walk up or down escalators, but I was doing them 2 steps at a time. I wanted this flight.
Luckily, when we arrived at Terminal 5, while it looked like a desolate area, there were 2 EVA Air employees, and one was empowered to radio to the most empowered to see if they could check us in. The fact that we were flying business class and had no luggage definitely helped. Ultimately, the fact that EVA Air’s David had stuck around on the landside, was truly the reason we made this flight. He was truly awesome, and even after he got us checked in, he escorted us through security and right to the plain. I truly hope EVA Air knows how great a team member they have with him, because he pretty much made our trip.