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Monday, September 26, 2016

Hong Kong arrival

I left Paris at 11:30 Saturday night and arrived in Hong Kong Sunday at 6pm. I managed to sleep the last 20 minutes of the 12 hour flight - not exactly the best use of my flight time. Also it is weird when you lose almost a day in a plane. But the HK airport is very welcome - modern, clean and bright. All signs are in both English and Chinese so it was easy to make my way to Immigration.

The immigration officer was not at all smiley but he was efficient. In fact all lines moved quickly.
My baggage arrived promptly and the taxi signs showed me where to catch the red taxi for urban destinations - so far so good!

Stepping out of the airport I was surprised to see it was already dark. In Paris it stays light until at least 9 even now so having already lost the day I was quickly thrust into evening mode.

No wait for the taxi. Of interest my driver had 4 different Samsung phones attached to his dashboard. Each seemed to have only one purpose. Made me wonder if men's phones also struggle with multitasking. Maybe phones are cheap here?
The urban view sucks if you are on the 17th floor

Checked into a lovely room at East Hong Kong and proceeded to put my things away. The suitcase I bought yesterday has a 3 point locking system, one of which stubbornly refused to open. After trying everything in my repertoire I called the front desk. A very lovely young lady offered to send an engineer who might be able to help. She advised me that he might need to break it to open it, and asked  "would I be happy with that". I managed to communicate that I would not be at all happy but it was the best offer I had heard so far.

A team of 3 engineers arrived and drilled through the lock in no time. Imagine the look on my face when the revealed contents bore no resemblance to my affairs! Yes the suitcase was identical to mine,. Yes it had a priority tag just like mine. No it was not mine. What to do? First to the mall next door to find essentials in case my suitcase remained out of my reach for the night. The mall had pretty much everything I needed, including a skating rink in case I missed Canada too much!

Yes the shopping mall has a skating rink

One more airport trip to do the switch, offer to pay for the broken lock and call it a day. 
Welcome to Hong Kong and my comedy of errors!

Friday, January 8, 2016

PS West Jet I don't love you

It is Jan 4 and I am at Edmonton airport checking in for my West Jet flight to Toronto, planning to transfer to Air France to Paris. The Gate Agent jauntily tells me I won't see my bags in Toronto as they are checked all the way through to Paris.

Imagine my surprise four hours later to see one of my suitcases circling the Toronto airport on the designated baggage carousel.  The other bag was nowhere in sight. I grab my bag off the belt and ask how I should make sure it accompanies me to Paris. I was told by Baggage Agent #1 to go to the West Jet counter and drop the located on a belt there so it could meet me Paris. West Jet Line Guarding Agent  pretends to listen to my story and tells me to get in line.

Ticket checking agent gets me to repeat my story and says I have nothing to worry about - my bag is correctly tagged to go to Paris. Yes but since it is not on its way to Paris without our help  (I know this because I am looking at it in Toronto) what should I do? "Put it on the belt" says Ticket Checking Agent.

Belt Checking Agent asks me to tell my story and says "oh no not this belt - you need to go to those West jet counters over there". But of course.

As I am leaving to go "over there" Random Child Agent asks me my story and looks concerned - just as concerned as his friend Random Child Agent #2. They both agree that I should not be at West Jet trying to ship my bag but at Air France. Although they work for West Jet at Toronto airport, they can not tell me in which terminal I might find Air France. I carry on my West Jet adventure anyway.

West jet Line Guarding Agent "over there" asks for my story and tells me to get in line. I know how to do that quite well by now.

Ticket checking agent "over there" asks for my story, acts concerned that I am at West Jet with my bag instead of Air France, reassures me that my bag is correctly tagged so there was no reason for it to have appeared on a baggage carousel in Toronto (but I didn't make it up) and tells me  I can put it on the belt if that's what I think I should do.

Belt agent asks for my story and not very confidently tells me to put my bag on the belt.

If you are imagining that this story does not end well you are correct.  I arrive in Paris. I wait for an hour and a half. The bag that I saw in Toronto I do see again in Paris. The other bag - well it took a trip to Vancouver and Amsterdam and arrived in Paris 4 days later.

The computer age has done very little for checked luggage it seems. Then again with such well trained airport staff perhaps I should be grateful the luggage arrived at all.