Sunday, December 20, 2009

Flight to China, take two

(Gary) 12/19/09

Air China put us up at a hotel on Long Island for the night. The next morning we couldn’t get any information from them other than some vague recorded message that something might happen at 1:00 PM. After looking at our options, we decided that since we had no information and 1:00 would not leave us enough time to check in for a flight leaving at 3:00 PM (when we thought we were leaving), we would take a cab back to JFK. We asked our new friend and fellow strandee, James, to join us.

When we arrived at JFK there was no Air China personnel and would be none for hours. Airport Security was trying to organize everyone into a long snaking line around the terminal. Mom did her best to point newcomers to where they should stand. Lufthansa, who cannot abide disorder, very kindly gave us the use of an unused counter and set up ratlines for us to stand in and wait.

And wait we did, from 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM before Air China personnel had us check in. They promised everyone a $200 refund which they conveniently forgot about when it came time for us to check in (I don’t think they’ll ever come up with that money) and they bought us lunch. We had to ride the same plane that broke down before and finally left at 6:30 PM EDT.

The last (shall we say) fiasco was when the pilot announced that we were diverting to Anchorage, AK for refueling. This came at almost the exact spot where we had to turn around before. Maybe he forgot he used up four hours of fuel the previous day, Maybe gas prices are better in Alaska – I don’t know. In any case we were an extra hour on the ground in Anchorage and arrived in China at 12:30 PM CST. We arrived at our room at 2:00AM just in time to get four hours of sleep before we had our orientation.

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