***WARNING: This blog post is very little updating and almost 100% me complaining***
My friend Elizabeth and I have had a very unlucky trip so far.
It started off well enough with us meeting at the airport and checking out bags with no problem. Our flight was delayed for almost an hour which really wasn't good because it means we missed our transfer. Things went from bad to worse to hell almost immediately.
We had purchased the tickets through Expedia as one trip. Shanghai to Beijing, Beijing to Guangzhou, then Guangzhou to Hanoi. Now, anyone who knows anything about China and/or Southeast Asia geography probably just spit their coffee at the computer as they exclaimed "WHAT!? You went NORTH to go SOUTH?". Yes, well, it was our cheapest offer and I am a poor teacher so we went for it.
ANYWAY. When we missed the transfer we thought of course something would be done. Since the whole trip was through China Southern Airlines, we went to them first. They said that because the first flight was a China Eastern Airlines plane, it was their fault. We went to them and they said it was China Southern Airline's fault. Then they tried to blame us because they said that the amount of time booked between flights wasn't enough (although MANY HOURS LATER when we talked to Expedia they said the blame really did lie with China Southern since they booked all three flights as one trip and if the lay over wasn't long enough the trip shouldn't have gone through as a valid option).
It was beyond frustrating. Here we were stuck with a bunch of people pointing fingers at each other and all we wanted was some action to be taken. And no action would be taken because no one wanted to take the blame. We first tried any way possible to get to Hanoi that night. Take another flight with the same airline, take another flight with a different airline. ANYTHING. We even tried to get them to send us back to Shanghai so we could at least go to our apartments and then try again the next day. Nope nope nope. Then we tried to get the earliest flight to Hanoi we could for the NEXT day. The only thing they would let us switch to was the same flight as the one we missed for the next day. So we would have to wait for 24 hours.
Once we realized what the crappy situation was and that we couldn't get out of it, we then asked what the airline was going to do. As in, what hotel would they be putting us up in for the night. And here's the fun part, because no one would accept the blame, they said it was not their responsibility and we were going to have to find our own place to stay.
After arguing, pleading, running around and I will admit a little bit of crying, we walked away from the counter to go find some internet. We thought the best thing to do would be to call Expedia and see if they could do anything to help. Maybe switch us to a different flight or maybe help us get a room or find out who was to blame. When we called (I had to buy a $15 IC card that we used up entirely for the many phone calls) the agent he said that he needed to talk to the airlines directly and their offices wouldn't open for another 4 hours. We sat in the internet cafe for 4 hours. We watched TV, we chatted, I slept a little.
When the four hours were up (keep in mind it was now 11pm), we called. We were put on hold. We used up the IC card. They said they would call my cell phone after they talked to the airlines. We waited for about another half hour. They called. They told us our flights were all set for tomorrow "And you're all set, goodbye!" Wait wait wait. We explained our situation again and the woman told us that it was China Southern's fault but there was nothing she could do to help us at this point.
We were sitting on the floor of the arrivals hall. After midnight. Things were pretty much as shitty as they could get.
We found a "hotel" in the basement of the terminal. It actually turned out to be ok. It was the first bright spot in our trip since things went so terribly wrong. We slept until 10:30 the next day. We had some lunch, we played some cards, we got some ice cream.
When we checked in to our flight we saw the same lady that basically told us we were screwed and she wasn't going to do anything about it. She waved at us happily. I wanted to punch her. We checked into our flight. The woman made fun of us in Chinese. Probably is, we can speak Chinese. Elizabeth called them out. It was more frustrating.
The plane was delayed AGAIN. Again for almost a full hour. Luckily this flight was connected to the one after so we couldn't miss it. Going through customs was fine and the next flight was uneventful. We got our visas for Vietnam on arrival, the driver from the hotel was waiting to pick us up and we are now in our hotel room. There is only one bed in the room but it's big, LizzyB and I have shared a bed before and after the start to this vacation we've had it's really not that big of a deal.
So, 39 hours after leaving my apartment, I arrived at my hotel in Hanoi. Not a very good start to the trip. The thing that is most annoying, in my opinion, is that we already had a short trip. We were only going to have three full days in Hanoi. Now, because of this whole mess we only have two. That REALLY upsets me. And the fact that I don't know if there is anything we can do about it just gets me more angry.
I'm lucky that I am traveling with Elizabeth. If I was going through this alone I think I would have had a mental breakdown. Instead, we can commiserate and cheer each other up. We are determined to have the best two days in Hanoi that we possibly can.
We've got a full plan of things to do for tomorrow so I should get some sleep.
Wish us lucky, we need it.