Sunday, November 20, 2011

The 22000 Mile Long March – CA 115

The 22000 Miles Long March - Check-In

The 22000 Miles Long March – UA 705 

The 22000 Mile Long March – Hyatt Regency O’Hare

The 22000 Mile Long March – CX 807

The 22000 Mile Long March – CA 108

The 22000 Mile Long March – CA 115

The 22000 Mile Long March – CX 806

The 22000 Miles Long March – UA 973

The 22000 Miles Long March – Conclusion 

It was time going back to Hong Kong. And it was quite an experience.

As the major hub of Air China, you can expect how many passengers are traveling from Beijing Capital International Airport per day (both domestic and international). They offer 5 different lines – International Economy (due to special circumstances, Hong Kong is considered as an international destination), Domestic Economy, Buiness Class and Star Alliance, First Class, and PhoenixMiles Platinum. So without doubt, if I can check it as a regular Economy customer, we are talking about at least 30 minutes of wait time.

As a Star Alliance Gold member, I checked in at Business Class counter again. This time I can see how disorganized Air China is. Unlike other major airlines which form single line for check in, Air China Business Class uses one line per counter:

Last Tulip??

So you can imagine what will happen when you pick the wrong line, which exactly what I did. Apparently, there were issues in checking-in the passengers who were in front of me (I was next one). So I had been waiting in line for 10 minutes for nothing really. Fortunately, a new counter was available, which made me the first one. Then I proceeded to the Air China Business Class Lounge:

There was nothing really special about the lounge. The food looked decent but I did not try due to a full lunch prior to the airport. But in the lounge, I had kind of created a screen – the pursue of power outlet.

In the lounge, not all power outlets were working. Since I have settled with the one not working, I had been holding my laptop walking through the lounge, trying to find one that was not occupied and working. And it took me about 10 minutes.

There was a service I want to compliment Air China – free cart ride from the lounge to the gate. But it was only available to premium passengers and Air China elite. For me, it would cost RMB$10 (which unlike Shanghai Pudong International Airport). So I walked.

Finally made to the gate with final boarding warning (about 20 minutes before departure…oh well) as I walked in the wrong direction of the airport. During boarding, there was another DYKWIA scene – a tourist from Hong Kong EGT Tour complained about out of overhead space for storage (he and his companion were among the last boarding the plane). So you can imagine there were some minor confrontations there.

Since I had a full lunch and expected a full dinner, I did not eat or drink anything in the plane. But I would not be surprised that if I had tried, it would have been the same experience as my previous flight.

And then I met another passenger who sat next to me, talking about how to get cheap tickets (and to be honest, what she mentioned can never compare to what I have ever gotten).

And again, I experienced my reason why I hate Airbus – broken seat – the seat handle was basically separated into 2 portions.

Maybe complaining is one of the "must-do" for my travel.

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