Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ontario International Airport

Between August 1995 and June 1997 I was Teacher of Instrumental Music and English as a Foreign Language at Sekolah Pelita Harapan--Bukit Sentul Campus, located near Bogor, West Java, Indonesia. One of the benefits of being a teacher there was receiving money for a round trip ticket to our home of record.
When I took the job, they flew me from Los Angeles International Airport. I remember being happy that the company put us on Singapore Airlines and not Philippine Airlines. There was a Philippine Airlines plane next to our plane. It would leave thirty minutes after us. But it began loading thirty minutes earlier. And they packed it like a sardine can.
My wife was a Green Card holder at this time and had to periodically make trips to the United States for two weeks at a time. We'd go to Guam for a fraction of the cost to California and it satisified that requirement. (Continental Airlines no longer flies between Bali and Guam so I don't know what we'd do today...)
When the school had us fill out the paperwork for our travel bonuses they wanted to know the closest airport to our homes of record, not necessarily the one where we came from. I wrote: Ontario International Airport (ONT). They said we could get more money that way.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) would pay $750 per person or $3,000 for the family. I got $7,000 or $1,750 per person. I thought the extra $4,000 was a mistake. It's only 15 minutes to fly to Ontario from LAX. Why should it cost an extra thousand bucks?
The school answered that their books said that it's four hours to fly from Los Angeles to anywhere in the province of Ontario. Then I knew they didn't understand. They never knew that Ontario is a large city in Southern California. I tried to explain over and over. Too bad I didn't bring any road maps to Indonesia!