Surprise! Instead of leaving at 4:25 PM, we might not go at all - check back at 4:00 PM.
Snow accumulates on the windows - and on the wings - while passengers board.
A snow-covered 747 - going nowhere tonight.
Timeline so far:
12 noon: walk to train station, bag in tow
12:15 PM: arrive station
12:24 PM: train to Atami
12:47 PM: arrive Atami
1:01 PM: board Shinkansen bullet train for Tokyo
1:45 PM: arrive Shinagawa Station, walk across to the Yamanote loop line
1:55 PM: catch a train to Hamamatsucho
2:05 PM: jump on the Monorail to Haneda Airport
2:20 PM: arrive Haneda
2:30 PM: get to check-in counter. Can't check in. Flight delayed due to threat of volcanic ash entity's from thus morning's fresh eruption of Shinmoedake in Kyushu. Asked to check back at 4:00 PM.
4:00 PM: new info says flight will operate but departure time changed to 9:50 PM. (At this point, the Cathay Pacific Web site advises that all traffic between HK and Tokyo is being affected, and they provide a special form on the site to check flight status. Remarkably, this special function still shows this flight departing on time at 4:25 PM.
4:30 PM: checked in. Head for lounge.
9:15 PM: head to departure gate. It is snowing. Hard.
10:10 PM: board aircraft with 365 passengers.
11:20 PM: Captain announces that snow is accumulating on the wings faster than they can de-ice them, so we're going to just sit here until the snow abates. He assures us this is no problem, since "the crew is legal to fly even if we sit here for hours!" Good to know, thanks.
12 midnight: they give up on waiting for the snow to let up and we deplane to the transit lounge.
1:10 AM: still waiting for customs to come back on duty so we can be admitted back into the country, collect our luggage, and be bused to a hotel in Maihama.
New departure time: tomorrow noon.
Update 3:00 AM: just got on the bus. By the time we get to Maihama and get checked in, there won't be much time before the bus comes back at noon to drag us back to the airport - departure now scheduled for 3 PM.
Last update for this entry: arrived hotel 4 AM. Back at airport at 12:30. Canceled my trip. Got back home 27 hours after leaving.