So how did my Hokkaido trip got extended? My entire group of 10 had already gone through immigration and were waiting at the departure lounge in front of the boarding gate, when we heard an announcement that our ANA flight was delayed. Soon after, we were called to report at the ANA counter.
Apparently there was a change in aircraft which would result in a 1 hr and 25 mins delay. This posed a problem for us as the delay meant we would miss our 11.30 pm connecting SQ flight in Osaka. And that was the last flight to Singapore for the day. We were given 2 options:
- Take the delayed flight to Osaka and find our own accommodation for the night. ANA will arrange for us to take a flight out the next day.
- Stay overnight in Sapporo and take the 7.30 am ANA flight the next day to Tokyo Haneda, and transit to the 10.30 am ANA flight to Singapore. ANA will provide lodging around the airport and transport to and fro hotel and airport.
Option 2 was the logical choice although if it was just my family, we would fly to Osaka and extend our stay there. Once we decided, the ANA staff got busy searching accommodation. It took them a while before they confirmed that we have rooms in a hotel in Chitose. Then they escorted us out of the departure area back to the check-in counters. They had taken our luggage out of the plane and we had the choice of bringing to the hotel or leaving in the airport storage. Of course we chose to leave the heavy bags but we took out our winter jackets.
It was another round of waiting as they finalised our rooms. This time we got exasperated as they wanted to put 10 of us in 2 rooms. Unbelievable! After much negotiation using super broken English as they could only understand words and short phrases, we finally managed to secure 3 rooms – my parents and sister, my aunties and cousin and my family. We also requested for meals compensation and proof of flight delay for insurance claim. By then, the airport was deserted and the security staff was closing up the place. We took our overnight bags to the waiting taxis outside and were whisked off to Hotel AreaOne Chitose.First thing that greeted us when we stepped into the hotel lobby was a very strong stale cigarette smell. This was so typical of budget and business hotels in Japan. When we asked for non-smoking rooms at the reception, they told us all fully booked. We braced ourselves for a terrible night ahead.
I was delighted with the Kotatsu. Finally got to try what it’s like to put my legs under a heated table.
There was no bathroom in the room, only a toilet and wash basin. The staff showed us the common bath area which was near the lift, one room for men, another for women. We were told to lock the door after we enter for safety and privacy.
I brought my girls to bathe not knowing what to expect. And guess what? A private onsen!The pool didn’t look very clean so we just showered at the bath area and called it a night. Anyway it was almost 11 pm when we were done. And we had to wake up early to catch the free hotel airport shuttle bus at 6 am.
Overall, it wasn’t too bad an experience. We had a good night sleep, got on the bus and boarded the plane to Tokyo Haneda.
We thought that was the end of our adventure but a whole series followed that almost caused us to miss our connecting flight – slight delay in take-off, wait for shuttle bus to take us from plane to domestic terminal, long walk from terminal to bus bay to take shuttle to international terminal. By the time we checked in and cleared immigration, we had to join the queue at the boarding gate. I was hoping to get some Tokyo snacks but there was simply no time, not even a box of Tokyo Banana.
Oh well, I was just glad we could finally go home. It was truly an unexpected ending to our Hokkaido winter holiday.