Well, I certainly jinxed that.
I was gloating to myself about mid-way through my second flight. Never before had I been to Asia on a trip that took less than 20 hours. It was all going smoothly and it would be a nice gentle trip before meeting the other interns and having a get-to-know-you.
Then the flight path changed – at a 90 degree angle. I actually considered whether I had somehow gotten on the wrong flight when the destination time upped by 2 hours and appeared to end in Shanghai. It took maybe 20 minutes before an announcement was made, we were indeed on the right flight, but weather was so bad in Beijing they couldn’t land. (The thought about whether all the other internships had landed without a hitch did cross my mind.)
So we re-routed to Shanghai, got to the ground around 6pm local time. Not too bad. They were talking about trying to fly into Beijing later in the day, which would have still given me a slim chance of reaching the airport in time for a pick-up. Unfortunately, not long after landing they declared that we would have to stay overnight. They put us up in a hotel, and it is pretty damn swanky actually, but in my glee at having a suite all to myself, I locked myself out of the room. For over an hour.
It was a bit embarrassing, really. I looked like a new-age homeless person, sat barefoot, smelly next to my door waiting for housekeeping to come rescue me.
Emirates handled it pretty well, all things considered, though it didn’t particularly go smoothly. Several flights were grounded here, meaning they’ve put up several hundred people in accommodation on very short notice. There were buses waiting for us at the airport and they offered free food in the restaurant (an offer that I could not take up, what with leaving my keys in the hotel room), which is a lot to organise – especially when you consider all of the attendants and pilots would need to be rescheduled. I do appreciate that they were so quick to handle the situation, but communication has been lacking.
To start with, there was the 20 minute delay from the map changing to being told about it. Then we were supposed to mingle around baggage reclaim 24, but there wasn’t anyone obviously moving us along. We still haven’t officially been told what time we’re flying tomorrow. The booking has updated online, suggesting that we will be flying at 9.15am, but nothing has been communicated to us about when to leave the hotel, whether baggage check-in is going to add on extra time etc. etc.
So, will there be anyone to greet me tomorrow? I don’t know.
I’m definitely missing the welcome ceremony, but the contact I had has been quite helpful and it does sound as if I’ll find my way to the campus one way or another – thankfully they gave us the address a few hours before I flew!
I’ll keep you posted.