I walked as fast as I could through the crowded Beijing airport walkway trying to find my way to my transfer gate.
“Excuse me, excuse me!” I exclaimed as people got in my way.
It felt like the closer I was to arrive at my destination, the more people were obstructing my view.
When I finally got to my transfer gate I was confused as to why it was so loud and why there were so many people standing around. I peeked my head through the crowd and located the check-in counters. I noticed tons of people yelling, mainly in Chinese and directly at the check-in counter staff. 30-seconds later, I saw a staff member get assaulted. It was a mad house. I squeezed my way through the horde of people while trying to keep my balance as people pushed and shoved. I had to find the screen to view the status of the flights. My heart sank when I finally located the screen and saw in big bold red letters that 90 percent of the Hainan Airline flights were cancelled, including mine that was supposed to be heading to Guangzhou in the next 15 minutes.
“Holy shit man!” I yelled as my red Hershel backpack slowly slid off my shoulders.
Like the people surrounding me, I now had a look of confusion and panic on my face. I turned around trying to figure out where the lines started so I could speak to someone about my cancelled flight. I decided to stand behind an elderly man who appeared to have his young grandchild standing next to him. Before I knew it, I was no longer behind the elderly man, instead, I was now two people behind him. I turned my head to look around and another person appeared ahead of me. I waited for what felt like a lifetime. When I finally got to the front of the counter, the gentleman wasn’t able to help me because he did not speak English. With his hands, he motioned me to wait as he went to get someone who spoke English. A young Chinese woman with long black hair walked over.
“Hello, how can I help you?” she said impatiently.
“Hi, um, I just looked at the screen over there and it said my flight has been cancelled” I replied.
She held out her hand. “Can I have your ticket?”
I handed her my wrinkled ticket.
“You flight is cancelled. You need to go over there to ask for refund”
Before I got a chance to say another word she handed me my ticket and I was pushed to the side by the person that once stood behind me in line.
As I headed over to the Hainan Airlines counter, the yelling got louder. There stood a short, middle-aged man who was slamming down his passport onto the counter while yelling profusely at the manager. I placed my heavy bag on the ground and waited. Once the angry man walked away I stepped up to the counter to speak the manager.
“Hi, um, do you speak English?” I said with my voice trembling.
“Yes, how can I help you?” he said after letting out a large sigh.
My eyes began to fill with tears.
“Um, I was told that I had to ask for a refund because my flight was cancelled but I really need to get to Guangzhou” I said as the tears fell from my eyes.
“I can give you a refund for your flight, but the next flight to Guangzhou won’t be leaving until tomorrow morning at 10 am” he said quietly.
My sleeves were now drenched from my attempts to wipe away my tears.
“But, but I need to get to Guangzhou now because I have to go to Singapore, I start school tomorrow and I can’t be late!”
“Can I please see your ticket and your passport?” he said.
I handed over passport and my wrinkled ticket which was now wet with my tears.
“Hold on please” he said softly as he began to type.
After a few minutes of typing, he tore my ticket in half.
Just as I was about to curse he handed me another ticket.
“There is a plane leaving in the next 30 minutes, where is your luggage?” he whispered.
“Oh my god, thank you! I don’t know where my luggage is, it was on the plane and it was supposed to be transferred to Guangzhou” I said excitedly while wiping my boogers onto my sleeve.
“You need to go downstairs to the luggage area, get your luggage and go through security again. You need to hurry up”
I thanked him and began sprinting through the swarm of people.
Part 3 coming soon…