An apology to Soul Mystique
National Sorry Day

Flying back on Qantass from China

Just a few words about our trip back from Beijing.

We flew Dragonair from Beijing to Hong Kong arriving in HK around 11pm. The flight was great. The plan was we'd stay in the 'Premium Lounge' at the airport until our 9am Qantas flight the next day.

Well.

The 24 hour 'Premium Lounge' was closing when we approached (reminded me of the old joke, "Open 24 hours... not in a row!") They told us of another of their lounges across the airport, so we trudged a looong way only to discover the cost was $US47 for 5 hours in the lounge, which included a 2 hour nap. Unfortunately, the nap room was fully booked so the offered us a discount of a few dollars. $42 to sit in a lounge for 5 hours... we moved on.

Sue-Anne slept in a lounge chair in the terminal for a few hours while I stayed up waiting for the Qantas lounge to open at 5am.

I should point out that we didn't have our boarding passes either - when we arrived in HK we went to the Qantas transfer desk and they told us to come back and collect our boarding passes at 7.30am. That meant we couldn't get into the main departure area until then. Eventually Cathay Pacific gave us a transit pass to enter the area and queried why Qantas didn't.

After getting into the Qantas lounge (they weren't keen as we had no boarding passes) we freshened up and then went back to the transit desk to get our passes (they had opened at 5am too, not 7.30am as they told us earlier). We didn't get the upgrades we ordered with our points, but they said we were "on the list" and to check at the gate. We checked at the gate, but the people at the gate told us to check at the gate?!!! When we entered they scanned our tickets and we asked about the upgrades and they looked at our tickets and said "No".

The flight itself was uneventful. I decided to watch the two Clint Eastwood movies 'Flags of Our Fathers' and 'Letters From Iwo Jima'. Halfway through the second film, Qantas' award-winning entertainment system conked out. After about 30 minutes it restarted, but the interactive 'fast-forward' and 'rewind' feature wasn't working so there was no time left to watch 'Letters From Iwo Jima' again. I chose the shortest movie 'Music & Lyrics' instead, and the system was turned off for landing 5 minutes before the end of the film.

Instead, I was thoroughly entertained by the antics in the seat in front of me as a man, who tried to order duty free, was first approached by an attendant who came to take his order then returned to tell him he was too late. "It was an 8 hour flight, you had plenty of time earlier" she argued. She returned to his seat four times to tell him how he should have ordered earlier, it was not her fault she was late in responding to his call, and surely it didn't take her 20 mins to come after he'd pushed the call button (it did!). The WORST example of customer service I've ever seen in my life!

Anyway, we now know of a direct flight to Beijing from Sydney. That's the one we'll be on next time!

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