Wednesday, 27 January 2010

3,5-hr flight, 6-hr delay

Not having the best luck with China Airlines these days. Two delays in the past month. Today was terrible. CI101 Narita - Taipei was to depart around 16h30 and arrive around 21h45. The flight was delayed first indefinitely, then to 21h45. I spent 8 hours waiting at Narita. I could have had lunch with Auntie Linda and maybe dinner with Mr Handsome. Pity! But thank goodness for wifi (even if it costs a small fee) that kept me busy. CI gave us 2 JPY1.500 coupons to spend at restaurants (SBUX wouldn't take them, unfortunately). I had umeka+konbu tororo+yamaimo tororo osoba for dinner, which was quite delicious. I usually eat there when I have time.

So I spent one coupon at the soba place. The other coupon, I had a really hard time figuring out what to do. I was already really full! It took me a slice of apple pie and three bottles of Perrier to feel like I didn't waste the voucher. I don't think I've ever had so much Perrier in one day.

By 21h45, we still hadn't boarded. When we finally started getting on the plane, they gave each of us a sandwich box, which was helpful. Then they served dinner on the plane, around midnight. After the sandwich, I couldn't eat anymore. The plane landed in Taoyuan around 1h00, and the entire airport was waiting for us. There were no busses left, so CI arranged transportation, except the bus going to Taipei took quite a while to show up. It was 2h00 and I was still in Taoyuan. When the bus came and we started getting on, they passed out more sandwich boxes. "More sandwiches?" I thought. Then  I heard my stomach grumble. Perfect timing.

By the time I got home, it was after 3h00. Ohhhhh, I was tired.

I noticed some interesting things through the big, long wait. Although the delay was a huge inconvenience and I hope to never experience it again, the staff were very, very polite and you can feel that they were sincerely apologetic, and among the tens of passengers that were immediately around me, I didn't hear one person scream at the airlines staff. People were tired and annoyed, but my god, unexpectedly nice. Most of the travelers were from Taiwan and had just taken a short holiday in Japan. Undoubtedly most had work the next day. There was no pushing, no shoving no yelling... It's the same feeling I had when reporting on people trying to get home after the countdown near Taipei 101 - there were tens of thousands of people standing and waiting to get into the train stations, but where I was at, people were really calm about it - no pushing, no shoving, no yelling - just quietly waiting. Its comforting to know that people are getting more and more polite these days.

China Airlines still has a strike 1 in my book. For now, I will fly with them until I can cash in my mileage for a free ticket. At that time, I'll decide if I'll keep flying with them. Be good. Please don't disappoint.

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