Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

It's been nice hanging out in Linz meeting all of the cool people here. I'm off to Beijing today via Frankfurt and Narita. I have a feeling this multi-airport flight is going to suck. Anyway, maybe see you along the way if I can find some wifi.


I said I had a feeling it would suck and it is sucking.

Airport - Linz, Austria
Gate Agent: Our computer is broken. I can't check you through to your final destination.
Me: OK, but please check my bag through to Bejing via Tokyo.
Gate Agent: My computer is down. I have to look up the codes by hand. What country is Tokyo in.
Me: Japan
Gate Agent: Beijing is also in Japan.
Me: No, China.
Gate Agent: OK. (scribbles down codes and flights on luggage tag.)
Announcement at Gate
The flight to Frankfurt has been delayed
Airport - Frankfurt, Germany
Me: (after running through Frankfurt airport and finding the proper check-in counter after 2 counters forwarding me to another one...) Can you check me through to Beijing. The computer was broken in Linz.
Gate Agent: Your reservation has been cancelled.
Me: ??!
Gate Agent: Let me talk to my colleagues... The computer in Linz was broken.
Me: Yes. I know.
Gate Agent: I will book you through to Beijing.
Arrival Gate - Narita, Japan
Gate Agent: Are you Mr. Ito?
Me: Yes.
Gate Agent: Can I see your luggage tag?
Me: Yes. (hands her luggage tag)
Gate Agent: hmmm... (squinting at hand written scribbles) This isn't the code for the Beijing airport. And the flight number is not correct.
Gate Agent2: That's the code for the city of Beijing, not the airport. It should probably be OK. And that SORT OF looks like a "9"... Sir, you'll be fine.
Me: (doesn't look very fine...)
I'm in Narita now wondering if my bag is really going to show up.


My bag and I have arrived safely in Beijing and even gprs seems to work fine!


Hope to meet you in Beijing, Joi,
Will arrive there on Saturday to do some heavy-live blogging from the World Economic Forum on Sunday and Monday. Off again on Tuesday.


sorry for the shameless self-promotion, but you should REALLY be on

"Plazes is the first global location-aware interaction and geo-information system, connecting you with the people and Plazes in your area and all over the world. It is the navigation system for your social life."

with all the traveling you´d be the plazes posterboy.

Are you in town for the weekend, Joi? I'm back on Saturday, and can recommend some excellent places to go (and invite myself along to..)

OK. I'll check out Plazes. dshupp, I think my schedule is pretty packed full of stuff already, but I'll let you know once I'm in Beijing and have stuff sorted.

just wanted to add that linz has a very small national airport - most of the transfer they get is between austria and germany, so someone flying to a different continent probably came as a surprise to the gate agent - that's the only excuse i can think of for not knowing where beijing is.

Interesting that all air terminal personnel throughout the world are Americans.

Please report back with your GPRS bill for China in relation to the one from Europe last time ;)

Hi Joi, when will you be back in Japan? I have a great new technology that I would really like you to see. Among others, it gives way for a truly novel way of blogging. I'll be in Tokyo on Monday and Tuesday, I wonder if you are kind enough to spare some time.

LOL! I have seldom laughed so hard in my life! I understand that it was probably quite frustrating for you, but you related it in such a funny way.

Don't you just love to travel? I'll bet every one of your readers has at least 2 stories to tell.

Are you letting your mileage points influence your choice of carrier, perchance ? ;-)
If you were flying out from Frankfurt, you could have taken a direct flight to Beijing with Lufthansa, instead of making a detour through Narita...
But then again, as Lufthansa codeshares its Beijing service with Air China, you could have ended up in an Air China plane. Hmm.

I think my assistant tries to save money by routing me in weird ways... I don't think it is to get more miles.

I don't feel so bad that last year at Ars, a group of us had a 5:30 a.m. taxi transfer to Vienna (of course the taxi didn't show up until 6:30 and we all nearly missed the flight to Amsterdam, which would have meant missing the trans-Atlantic flight....)

Everytime I've transferred through Frankfurt it is a nightmare, including the fact that even people who work there have trouble navigating the weird inter-terminal connections and the multiple PassKontrol points. And then there was the time that the "parking computer" was down, and all incoming flights had to queue up on the ground waiting for a gate assignment. We were left for over an hour, watching helplessly as our flight for home departed on the next runway over.

to Peking? and to preach the Gospes in China? Ha!


Joi Ito wrote:

I said I had a feeling it would suck and it is sucking

Ah, the vagaries that happen when you must delegate your routing decisions...
You should perhaps re-examine the protocol established between you and your assistant determining your routing. If it's based on IS-IS ("It sucks ! It sucks !"), you might want to consider an alternative protocol instead — e.g. RIP ("Reasonable itinerary, please !") or OSPF ("Optimal scheduling, por favor...") ;-)

hmmmm I have a great travel story to tell! It's a long story but you won't believe what KLM did!!!

(BTW I don't have my own blog so I blog on other people's sites!)

In April 2000 I travelled to Tokyo on KLM from London via Amsterdam (don't ask!)

All is great as I arrive in Schiphol, and transfer OK. Board flight to Tokyo on KLM - all on schedule!

Approx. 2 hours into the flight the captain announces that we had to change the flight route from over Russia and try going over China airspace! Errr? Like what? Why?

Ok! Hmmm strange but hey if we get there! Ok so now we are into 9 hours of flight time I have seen my 3 movies devoured many cup noodles, and looking forward to arriving in Narita to meet my friend Wakana!

So 2 hours to go - yipppeee!!!! NOT! Ok now the captain addresses the calm passengers that we are now no longer headed for Japan, but going back to Amsterdam! (via Istanbul to refuel!!!) ?

Great so everyone starts panicking like what the f%^@& is going on!?

We arrive in Istanbul! But we are not allowed to get off the plane as we don't have the appropriate visa - so for 1 hour we sit there waiting to refuel!!!

Not one air crew member new what was going on! But we were patronisingly told everything is OK! Hugh OK?

So after 2hr 30mins we take off again - now by this time we had been airborne for Tokyo for 14 hours!!!

9 hours later we arrive BACK in Amsterdam (errr my ticket says Narita Tokyo!!! NOT travel Europe and the MiddleEast for fun before returning back to where we started!!!). Then KLM stick us in one big room and leave us alone for nearly 2 hours in which time we are offered airport coffee and flat orange cordial in those nasty brown plastic cups!!! - Whilst around us so many old female Japanese tourists are crying and totally lost as to what is going on!!!! Yeah what is going on!?

Ok this is enough so my business partner and I demanded and explanation!!! We were lied to so many times I can't recall all the excuses we were told!!!!

Ok then KLM sends us on a bus journey of 1 hour to the coast of Holland to stay in a day hotel (the only hotel empty with enough rooms for 300 people for the day!!!) so we spend the day there!!! Then at 6pm they (KLM) drive us all back on buses to Schiphol with our luggage in tow on a truck behind us!!!

We get to Schiphol and they change us to JAL and fly us out to Narita!!!! Ok we arrive in Tokyo 11 hours later!!!

So by the time we arrived in Narita we were 42 hours late to Narita! When I arrived back in Tokyo I demanded and explanation from the KLM staff who informed us that they had made a VERY big mistake!!! Yes that you have!!!

What happened you ask? Simple really. The flight we boarded from Schiphol was a new flight on the regular scheduled flights to Narita - BUT no one had thought to inform the countries airspace authorities in Russia and China that the KLM flight we were on would be passing over their airspace!!!! Simply had we attempted to fly in to their airspace unannounced they (Russia and China) would see us as a National Security threat as an unidentifiable aircraft - action that would have taken place would have to be escorted down by military aircraft, or worse shot down!!!

I never received an apology from KLM nor a refund despite the appropriate complaint action I took!

Recently I flew KLM (yes I am mad!) to Korea and mentioned the incident to the air crew (both at the check-in desk and on-board the aircraft as I wanted assurance that KLM would get me there this time!!!)They all knew about the famous flight to Tokyo that never made it in the year 2000!!! But what annoyed me when one staff member told me those 4 years on the GUY who made the "clerical" error was still employed in the same role!!!

I have to say though on this occasion I made it to my destination which was Korea in one piece and only 30 minutes late!!!

But andrew, you missed the critical question. Did you get miles for that flight? :)

HA HA HA DAMN! Why didn't I think of that - now where's that KLM airmiles card...errr you think it's still valid? HA HA LOL!

Wonderful stories. One point: Air China is a well respected airline with a great safety record.

Wonderful stories. One point: Air China is a well respected airline with a great safety record.

Wonderful stories. One point: Air China is a well respected airline with a great safety record.

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