PCS Diaries: Episode 2 – AMC Terminal/Flight

World’s. Longest. Plane. Ride.

Ok so the things they don’t tell you about the AMC Passenger Teminal at SeaTac:

1) Families get to cut the line! Thank you baby Jesus.

2) You must keep possession of your animal until 5am.  That means that you cannot go through security until 0500.

3) The fee for a dog + crate under 70lbs is currently $112, over is double that.. max weight I think is 100lbs.  They accept cash, charge and check (supposedly).

4) Check-in starts at 0130. You can check your bags in and weigh your animal IN the crate, leave the animal crate and take the animal (works best with the pups) and bring it back at 0500.

5) Make sure you’re checked in by 0430.  Hell, the earlier the better.  It’s not like you’re sleeping anyway.  Also, in order to check in all bags must be there, including carry-ons, but the people are not required.  It should be noted that it is CRUEL to send your husband to the AMC terminal with a gazillion bags weighing nearly 300lbs and a dog in a crate who is uber-pissed alone.  You can rent a baggage cart curbside and in the parking structures, they are not free.

6) There isn’t really anything good to eat in the terminal.  Make sure you get food before you get in there.  Not only is it ultra-expensive, we didn’t see anything we wanted to eat.

7) They will feed you 3 meals on the plane (2 hot, 1 cold and you’ll get a choice of A or B each time – the food was pretty decent).  But, it doesn’t hurt to take food with you and a huge bottle (or 3) of water and soda or whatever.  Yeah, they pass out drinks, but not frequently enough on the water and you get one of those stupid little cups of it.  Bring large bottles of water or empty camelbaks and fill them in the terminal.

8) Bring a change of clothing, especially if you’re traveling with kids.  There is nothing worse than being stuck in the Yokota terminal covered in kid vomit, bawling from embarrassment and discomfort.  And for the love of god, if you see this happen, help if you can.  You’re going to most likely see these people again and you don’t want to be THAT asshole.  (No, this didn’t happen to me thank god, but I gave that woman the shirt I was wearing because I had a tank top on — and I DID see her 2 days later).

9) They will unload your pets at every stop.  Be prepared to give them water, take them for a walk, and clean up poop.  Do NOT leave your leash on the plane.  And you can give them meds if you see them, no one stopped me from giving the dog anti-anxiety meds.

10)  Oh, you’ll also deplane at every stop.  Be prepared, take just what you need off everything else stays on.

11) Don’t be embarrassed if you have THAT dog.  You know, the one who won’t stfu at the terminal.  Yep, that was us.  She didn’t stop barking for 2 hours.  Our baggage was last.

12) An iPad 3 battery playing movies the entire flight, will last the entire flight.  There is no internet (wi-fi) so prepare your devices.  Also, you can’t use bluetooth headphones.  We found internet in the Iwakuni AMC terminal, not sure about Yokota, didn’t try.  I did buy one of those extra charger thingee’s and charged my cell phone which I connected to the wi-fi at Iwakuni to let everyone know that we were alive and well.  They showed movies and tv shows the whole time.

13) A 10.5 hour flight when you didn’t sleep the night before isn’t really that bad.  We bought those head/neck travel thingees and I slept through 2 takeoffs for a combined total of about 7-8 hours.  Since I slept so much on the first leg, the flight was only 5.5-6 hours for me.  It could have been so much worse, but I was asleep and so was the baby.

14)  Special note:  If you are a family of 3 (we are), they will try to sit you in the middle because the plane is a 2-3-2 configuration.  Baby carriers must be in the middle seat so they don’t block emergency exit routes.  I am breastfeeding.  As you can imagine, it’s a little awkward to breastfeed in an aisle basically.  I made sure I had an udder cover (got it for free, just paid shipping) and luckily the guy next to me was an adult and not some 19 year old marine… there were plenty of those making fart jokes.  I’m pretty sure they try and cram all the families up front.  Either way, it wasn’t super weird.  He didn’t seem to care and if anyone did, they didn’t make a big deal out of it.  Speaking of baby carriers… you’ll gate check your stroller and not see it again until you get to the carousel at your final destination.  Be prepared to carry your carrier to that point.  Oh, and your carrier might not fit, especially if it’s rear-facing.  We had to remove the base from ours and the poor kid sitting in the seat in front of the baby couldn’t recline (not sure if he even noticed).  But just beware of that.


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