Sitting in LAX waiting for the redeye to JFK. I haven’t experienced any delays because of increased security. Hanoi’s Noibai Airport was not crowded today and everything worked smoothly; Taipei was no problem, either, though they were doing random searches after clearing the gate and before getting on the plane. And LAX was all right, too, in terms of security. The problem here was not security, which was thorough but efficient, but the local infrastructure and Delta Airlines. After clearing Customs (easy), I had to hump my bag three-quarters of a mile to another terminal and haul it up a flight of stairs, then stand in the “bag drop off” line for an hour while three or four agents did triage, pulling out passengers who were about to miss their connecting flights and rushing them through. Oh, and it is possible to run an airline that does not treat its customers like cattle: I flew China Air on this trip and the service was efficient, the food was good (and free), and the airplane clean. I’ve had the same good experience with Vietnam Airlines and Cathay Pacific. The pilots put us down each time as if we were landing on velvet. Unfortunately, now I have to get on Delta for the final leg of my trip.
Later: I’m home now and have slept for about fifteen hours. To cap the trip, Delta didn’t manage to get my bag onto the last leg of my flight home, so they had to put it in a van and drive it the 150 miles from the airport to where I live. But it and I have arrived safely after one of my best and most productive trips to Vietnam. Details to follow. Oh, and I absolutely agree with Sam’s assessment, in his comment, of travel in Asia versus travel in the US. For my part, I just repeat a little Buddhist mantra: May I be filled with loving kindness, may I be well in body and mind. . .