At Xiamen airport I experienced my first delayed flight drama.
As the passengers all boarded the flight to Guangzhou and took our seats and I began speaking to the well dressed gentleman beside me – always a treat to find someone who speaks English. His name was Jan and he’s from India and was visiting China on business. As I began to tell him my story an announcement was made in Mandarin and people started to get off the plane. But we had no idea what was going on. Thankfully a kind lady Chinese passenger informed us that there’s a delay and we needed to get off the plane now.
When I arrived back at the terminal it was chaos – lots of flights delayed, lots of panicking people and lots of hungry people. Jan was kind enough to buy me a coffee whilst we awaited an English explanation – at this point an English speaking indonesian and the kind Chinese lady joined us in order to translate what was happening. I always meet nice people at airports!
Then I got down to business – I had a connecting flight to catch in 4 hours time, a taxi pick up booked and a hostel for the night in Hanoi. What is happening? Did I need to ring ahead and cancel? Luckily this whole conversation was had by the flight crew and the Chinese lady on my behalf. The flight over to Guangzhou was an hour so if we left in the next couple of hours I had a chance. But otherwise I needed to get hold of Jake to cancel my taxi and hostel. I was then told by China Southern Airlines I was going to miss my connecting flight and it was likely I wouldn’t arrive until tomorrow… eek, right, I need WiFi!
After a few minutes one of the attendants asked me to follow her, I thought she had found me a flight but she took me to the First Class lounge for WiFi. Once again I was dressed comfortably in my travelling clothes (pretty much my pjs) so I definitely did not belong here! Annoyingly the VIP WiFi didn’t work but I managed to get on to the main WiFi using Jan’s phone number as you can only log on with a Chinese number where I alerted Jake to cancel everything as my flight was delayed – however I really wish I hadn’t done this. A few moments after this we all were rushed back to board the plane and I lost WiFi connection. Nooooo!!
On arrival in Guangzhou I had 20 mins to get to my next flight, luckily they sent someone to help and I seriously would not have got through passport checks, security checks and immigration that fast by myself. I even got to ride one of the airport trolleys! Throughout this I was frantically trying to get back online to tell Jake the false alarm. Sadly I arrived in Vietnam at 11.45pm, no prebooked taxi and it was midnight.
Right, plan B. I ignored the wave of taxi drivers trying to get me in their cars and instead proceeded to the info desk to get them to book me a taxi or recommend a safe one (as advised online to avoid scams). However the arrogant man on the desk, who looked like he was eager to finish his shift said: Just get in any Taxi outside. Now this really annoyed me to my core – as this was the advice everyone told me NOT to do when getting to Vietnam as there are numerous scams going on. There are scams where they take you to the wrong hostel where the signage matches where you’re going, tell you its full and then take you to a sister hostel. There are also scams where they agree a price – then a mysterious road block occurs on the way where you need to go a different route. All hearsay, but after hearing a few days before a friend of mine getting scammed by a taxi in India, I was more cautious than normal and a bit stressed from my flights.
If it was day time, I would have got the bus but there was no other option but to get a taxi – then the lights in the airport turned off. Airports don’t close do they?
Luckily, I had access to WiFi and by my luck a dear friend from home messaged me at the right time and recommended a green and white taxi – apparently these are trustworthy and by meter.Great! Sorted! Panic over!
I’m learning that getting public transport by myself is causing me a lot of stress and fails – I’m not good at it at all.