Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Missed Flight

So things often don't work out as expected, do they? Right now at 8:48am I expected to be on a flight to Lhasa, already nearly half way there. What Happened?

I had an excellent, if short, time in Chengdu. I got to hear alot about what is going on here, see some friends (including one who accidently dropped China's national treasure, the Panda Bear...A story for another time), get a hair-cut (they come with a scalp massage here), etc.... We got to the airport in plenty of time unlike my flight to come to Chengdu. I barely made that one, climbing up the steps to the plane 3 minutes before scheduled take off.

You still need travel permits and tour groups for Tibet. Who knew? Not I!! The travel agent got us the tickets easily enough. But when we tried to check in we were told we couldn't fly because we didn't have the travel permit for Tibet. So we talked to a manager. What can be done? 'You must go to your original travel agent' they say. But that's back in Kunming, another flight away! 'Yes, that's who you must go to. Only they can get the permit for you.' Well what about refunding our tickets? It's more than a 1/2 hour before takeoff, we would get a better refund if we do it now. 'No, your tickets are not valid without the permit. We cannot refund them'. Well, to make a long story a bit shorter, they promised (but would not put in writing) that if we go and get a permit from a local travel agent, they will then give us new tickets for free. I'm not going to hold my breath on that one. :)

It's out of our hands now really. We'll go to the travel agent when they open up this morning and hope for favor. It sounds like we can only go with a tour group which would be expensive and might take several days to organize......which would make the trip unpractical. We'll see! More later.....

No comments: