TOKYO - Jeff Quigley, an American who lives in Japan and Indonesia, was one of thousands of passengers caught up in this week's worldwide Delta Air Lines shutdown.
As day stretched into night, then overnight and the next morning, the 30-year-old venture capitalist posted live video updates on his Facebook page during what ended up being a nearly 20-hour delay at Narita airport outside Tokyo.
A look at his ordeal:
Monday, 8:48 p.m.
Quigley titled his first video “Delta delay is big business for McDonald's at Narita Airport."
He had boarded his 4:30 p.m. flight to Manila and endured stifling hot conditions inside until passengers were allowed to disembark. With a smile on his face, he talks to his Facebook audience about the delay and takes them to a McDonald's outlet in the departure area.
“I just thought it would be funny to show the effect it's having at Narita airport,'' he says. “Have a look, it looks like a Disney ride.''
Quigley then walks down a line of at least 75 people stretching along a corridor from the McDonald's counter. It takes about 30 seconds to get to the end.
“So yeah, this Delta delay is very big business for all of the cafes and restaurants here at Narita,'' he says. “And I am not willing to wait that long for a Big Mac.''
As he heads back to his gate on a moving walkway, he says, “I was really looking forward to eating some adobo [a Philippine dish]. But now I'm just worried about getting a SIM card and changing money before everything closes, because I heard that everything closes pretty early at the airport in Manila.''
As it turned out, that's one thing he didn't have to worry about.
Monday, 11:45 p.m.
Three hours later, Quigley's look is grimmer. No more smiles. Passengers have been told the flight won't leave until 10 a.m. the next day at the earliest. The hashtags on the post have multiplied from just “Delta'' to “Deltadelay'' and “Deltadisaster.''
“Hello again Facebook people,'' he says. “Now the real nightmare is happening.''
Quigley has re-entered Japan through immigration and is in what appears to be a mostly empty arrival area. Passengers stand in clumps, some near a Delta desk.
Everyone went nuts in the departure area when they announced that the flight would be delayed until the morning, he says, adding, “There was so much screaming and yelling, I just had to get out because it was getting extremely ugly.''
Confusion reigns, because Delta has told him to stay at the airport, and the airport staff have told him he can't, because the terminal doesn't operate 24 hours.
“I'm in limbo, I have no hotel ... I guess it's better to just camp out,'' he says. “It's going to be an interesting night. Thanks for watching. Peace.''
Tuesday, 1:42 a.m.
For his final video, Quigley must figure a picture is worth a thousand words. Or he's just too tired to talk.
He takes his viewers down the arrival hall, now lined with people, some laying out temporary bedding that has been handed out, others already trying to sleep. Title: “Narita North Wing right now'' with a “Deltadisaster'' hashtag.
Some passengers stand with their luggage, holding thin inflatable air mattresses that had been inflated and distributed to those in the terminal. Quigley said later in a phone interview that they were also given a disposable sleeping bag, two bottles of water and two packages of crackers.
Eventually, Quigley is able to sleep. “With all the snoring and shuffling around and general chaos ... I didn't end up falling asleep until 4 and I got woken up at 6,'' he said Tuesday morning. “Just the noise of everyone. People's alarms were going off.”
His flight departed shortly after noon.