Saturday, March 31, 2001

China 2001 - Trouble

After meeting with L.’s uncle we found out that L.’s brother had not arrived at the airport. Worse yet Northwest did not have any flights that were flying from San Francisco that night. After waiting for a while we realized that if he were not there, he wouldn't be there so we went home sans T.. After the “normal” wild ride home we fired up the computer to find what it said about his flight. Expedia where we bought the ticket from showed that he should be here. The problem was that the northwest site showed that the flight number he had was going to Shanghai. So one of 3 things happened. Northwest's computer was wrong and the flight had arrived at a gate we didn't know about and he was waiting wondering where we were in Beijing. He could have gotten to Shanghai thinking he was in Beijing wondering where we were. Or someone caught the error and he was stuck at San Francisco airport thinking that I bought him a bad ticket. We found numbers for Expedia.com, Northwest, San Francisco, and Shanghai airports and started making a lot of international calls and waiting on hold. The phone works sporadically for international calls, about every third try. Ringing sounds like a busy signal, busy sounds like ringing, and the dial tone reminds me of when my phone was broken. After typing in all the numbers you wait for a few minutes hearing clicking and recorded Chinese voices thanking you while the call is switching through. We found out that there was a flight from Shanghai to Beijing that was the same kind of plane as the one flying from SFO to Shanghai. We figured that he got on some plane since we would have gotten email or call from someone otherwise, so L. and her aunt headed back to the airport while we tried to find someone who had a passenger manifest. Expedia.com’s computers were down and they didn't really like to hear that it was their fault for losing someone in China and they didn't have a non-800 number for Northwest. Needless to say I will never use expedia.com again. L. finally found him at Beijing airport. He had convinced the people in Shanghai that he did belong in Beijing and they had given him a connecting flight. I finally made it to bed at 2am. Only 85 hours with 6 hours sleep.

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