Cancellation board in Hong Kong – credit:Vincent Thian
The first we knew there was going to be a problem was when we checked the transfers board at Hong Kong airport just after we arrived on Monday evening.
Every single flight had been cancelled. Gradually we (and about 2,000 of our travelling companions) pieced together what had happened. There had been protests at the airport during the day and a decision was made by the Airport Authority to cancel all flights as a result.
This posed a bit of a problem for us – partly because of the travel disruption and partly because none of the airport staff seemed to have any clue about what was going on.
So we did what we normally do when our travel doesn’t go to plan – we called our wonderful travel agent Petra from House of Travel. We woke her at 3am (sorry, sorry, sorry) but as usual she was on the case immediately.
When we rang her we were in the queue from hell – one that snaked around the airport, doubled back on itself and disappeared into the distance. This was the re-ticketing queue. We were in this queue for about 4 hours.
That was more than enough time for Petra – working with Cathay Pacific to change our original flight to Rome for a flight that went to London and then a connecting flight to Rome, the long flight having the extra leg room we like and a better than average chance of our bags making it to Rome as well. She also had back-up bookings in place just in case things got worse for us.
So that’s two lessons I’ve learned today – using a travel agent makes excellent sense particularly if the unexpected occurs, and travel insurance is a sound investment as they will be paying for all the costs incurred in re-booking our first day or so in Italy – hotels, trains, rental cars, the list goes on.
So here we are, sitting in Hong Kong airport waiting to catch our flight to London tomorrow morning. We have set up camp in one of the pay-as-you-go airport lounges for a day which has made things slightly brighter, cleaner and more bearable for us both.
If there are a few typos in this post I apologise. Let’s blame it on the many hours we’ve both been awake since leaving Wellington.
Who says the romance of travel is dead?