Last Friday, I took a cab from my apartment in Manhattan to Newark Airport.
I arrived at Newark at noon, in plenty of time for a 3pm flight to Beijing, where I was going to speak at a forum put on by Chinese Internet company Tencent.
I was excited, and not just for China.
The flight was going to be great.
Tencent had generously shelled out for business class tickets.
That meant there was going to be a lay-flat bed, movies, and lots of food.
Problem was, my United flight wasn’t a 3pm flight. It was a noon flight. And I missed it.
I’d confused my departure time with my arrival time.
Fortunately, United has a partnership with Air China, which did have a 3:50pm flight to Beijing that day — out of JFK.
So the wonderful woman at the ticket counter booked me onto that flight and I raced to get a cab.
In the cab, I looked down at my new itinerary. It showed how much Tencent had paid for the whole trip.
It was over $US8,000!
Want to see the flying experience that kind of money gets you?
OH #%[email protected]! MY FLIGHT WAS AT NOON NOT 3PM WHAT WAS I THINKING? I texted my wife in panic.
I looked at the receipt the ticket counter woman just printed. My flight was costing Tencent $US8,195. Wow!
There was a massive 'arm rest' between me and the window seat next to mine. It was basically a table.
I decided to pretend I was already on China time. That way when I landed in the evening I would be tired.
Time to watch some TV. First I watch an Animal Planet show called 'Too Cute' about puppies. I highly recommend it.
After watching several movies, from a limited selection (none of them very good) I flipped on the flight map. Holy moly: I was over the north pole.
Just like in the US, everyone stood and waited for minutes before the plane doors opened. Why do people do this?
I had a driver waiting. Amazingly, Google Maps worked. Only a half hour till bed! I'd been up for 24 hours already.
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