Getting to Tokyo

2 minute read

Getting to Tokyo wasn't quite as smooth as I'd imagined. At times I wondered if I was actually going to get there. It all started in the UK, on our woefully embarrassing train network. The journey from Putney to Gatwick airport should have taken 40 minutes or less but ended up taking 1 hour 40 minutes. I arrived with 15 minutes to spare before the check in closed (I couldn't check in online as the Alitalia website wouldn't let me). I made the flight to Milan (which boarded and closed early!) so all was ok so far.

Airport Security

When checking in at Gatwick they only printed one boarding pass and told me I had to get my boarding pass for Milan to Tokyo at the airport in Milan. I arrived in Milan at transfer security to find they wouldn't let me through without a ticket or boarding pass. After waiting at the front of the queue for 20 minutes I managed to blag my way through showing my TripIt itinerary on my tablet to the guard.

I grouped together with some other Brits who were in the same situation and we walked over to the boarding gate to get our boarding passes printed. There was a guy sat at the desk so one of the Brits tried talking to him, but the staff member could only speak Italian. The British guy became quite frustrated in explaining to him that we needed our boarding passes but didn't get anywhere. It did make me chuckle when, after the Brit gave up talking to him, the Italian staff member got up and walked off pushing a cleaners trolley.

Boarding Pass

When the proper staff members arrived at the desk we got our boarding passes issued. I was at the back of the queue and as they went to process mine a Japanese woman behind the desk stopped them and asked where my visa was. I tried explaining that British passport holders don't need a visa, we get a 90 day permit upon landing. I even showed her the landing permit in my passport from my previous visit a year ago but she argued otherwise. After 10 minutes she finally accepted I was right but then still refused to give me my passport and boarding pass because I had a one way flight. Out came my tablet again with my TripIt itinerary showing my onward flight to Taiwan and at last she gave me my passport and boarding pass back. Drama over!