You suck big time Qantas. I loathe you with a passion.

You suck @QantasAirways! I had the day from hell thanks to you, only made bearable by the fact that there were other Adelaide people I shared it with, so I wasn’t alone in the stress and suffering you caused.

My Qantas flight left early on Saturday – way too early for my liking; I was awake at 4am (after tossing and turning most of the night) to get to the airport at 5, with the plane due to fly out at 6, getting into Sydney at 8.25. Found out via a text that it was delayed 1/2 an hour due to fog in Sydney. Then another half an hour. And another. We were assured that our connecting flights (due to fly out at 9.25) were also delayed. Were assured that we should be able to make the flight, and contingencies were in place if we didn’t.

We didn’t. And then the horror started. Instead of a Qantas flight to Beijing, with a 3 hour stopover in Shanghai, Qantas rerouted us onto China Eastern, with the stopover to get the connecting flight to Beijing of just one hour. We were assured that we should be able to make that connection and “do not be concerned, madam” as there were ground staff waiting to help us, because there were a few of us in the same situation.

We didn’t make the Beijing flight and there were no ground staff to help. So we made our way through immigration and I went to see if my baggage had made it. It hadn’t (my baggage had been checked through to Shanghai with the original flight – that we missed. Or so I thought. Or so I was told). I was assured by Qantas that it may be delayed, but it was a simple matter of putting in a baggage claim when I got to Shanghai if it wasn’t there. Of course Qantas failed to take into account that I was on a tight timeline to catch my connecting flight to Beijing. Not to mention having to navigate the Chinese/English language barrier – while figuring all this out – meant it was not “a simple matter”.

My travel pals went on ahead (because they really couldn’t miss the flight) while I tried to sort out my luggage woes, all the while pointing out to the Shanghai Airport staff that my flight was about to leave. It took 10 minutes to complete that paperwork, but in retrospect, I’m glad I did. I ran (I really did!) to Terminal 2 (10 minutes away) because I was directed there (again by Shanghai Airport staff) as the eTicket said it was a Qantas flight (not China East, which it actually was), only to be told I needed to go back to Terminal 1. I well and truly missed the flight.

So. What to do? Back to China Eastern and more to-ing and fro-ing between desks. I ended up getting a flight out the next morning (there were no flights that night). I could have gone back to Qantas at Terminal 2 and try to get them rebook and sort out a place to stay for the night, but was advised by the China Eastern lady that there was no guarantee that anybody would actually be there. I wasn’t going to waste my time walking up there (again!) to find out. So I made the decision that I would manage it myself; after all, I couldn’t do a worse job. So I rebooked the morning flight, and found a hotel desk that organised a 3 star hotel for me for 468RMB (about 90 AUD, which I paid for). I was driven here, and will be picked up and taken back to the airport in time for my flight. Hopefully.

The next day

Although I wouldn’t say this hotel was anywhere near 3 stars, the shower was hot, there was air conditioning and the sheets were clean (although the bed was so hard and uncomfortable, I hardly slept a wink all night. Again.). I texted my travel buddies just to let them know what happened, and discovered they had missed the flight as well, were staying in a hotel and were catching the one this morning.

If there is anything good that comes from this it’s that hopefully my luggage would have arrived in Beijing and I can collect it (it didn’t. Not for 3 days). Really unhappy about this not having luggage thing. But glad I did the paperwork. On the plus side, though, my global roaming fired up pretty much as soon as I landed in Shanghai. So THANK YOU Telstra, for providing some relief in a very ordinary, nay hellish and stressful, day. Will still try and get myself a China Sim, but free WiFi is pretty much a given, I think.

I am proud that I didn’t have a complete meltdown as per Saigon. I’m just so very, very tired, which completely voids the reason for getting in a day early for my tour. I’m exhausted before I’ve already begun. So, so far, this trip has been a case of anything that can go wrong has. Hopefully that’s the last of it.

PS – I found out later that some passengers had been issued boarding passes in Adelaide for the connecting flight in Sydney. Those people apparently got that Qantas connecting flight to Beijing. You suck Qantas because you washed your hands of us in Sydney.

PPS – I did not get my luggage for THREE days. China Eastern refused to deliver it to the hotel, so I had to go back to the airport to pick it up. I wasn’t even sure that I was going to get it back. Apparently, it was still in Sydney while I was filling in the paperwork at Shangai airport, missing my connecting flight to Beijing. I had to go out and purchase replacement undies, shorts, t-shirts, thongs, toiletries. This on top of the cost of a hotel room while stranded in Shangai…

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