Sunday, April 15, 2012


In all the years that I have been traveling all over the world I have never had a flight canceled. I guess I have just been lucky because I know many people who have been in the predicament where they experienced a canceled flight. Well, on Friday, march 23rd I was returning from China with a stopover in Hong Kong. Everything was fine when I arrive in Hong Kong. I check my flight for Saturday because I had heard that there was labour trouble in Canada regarding Air Canada workers.

I arrived at my hotel around 11 PM, checked in, and had a late night dinner with my traveling companion. Around 1:30 AM when I was thinking about turning in for the night my traveling companion contacted me on Skype to tell me that our flight for the next day was canceled.  I immediately tried to contact Air Canada. I was kept on hold for over an hour while I scoured Air Canada's website for information which didn't exist. One part of the website said that the flight was canceled while another part of the website stated that the flight was still on. I gave up around 3AM. I had not gotten through to Air Canada and i was getting no where with the website.

I was awake again at 5:30 AM with only 2 1/2 hours of sleep. I tried calling Air Canada in Hong Kong. All I could get was a recorded message in Cantonese and English saying that our flight had been canceled and that we should contact Air Canada reservations in Canada for more information. That was what I did. I finally got someone on the line from Air Canada reservations. I was told that the best they could do was get us on a flight going through Narita Airport in Tokyo on Tuesday, march 27th. I was grateful that I was going to get a flight to go home but what was I going to do until Tuesday. I had booked only one night two people at the Eaton Hotel. When I asked what I was supposed to do about accommodations for the next three days I was told that it was up to me to find accommodations and air Canada would reimburse me for the costs.

My next task was to find hotel accommodations for the next three days because the Eaton did not have any vacancies. As it turned out, at the same time Hong Kong was hosting the Hong Kong sevens which is the premier Rugby tournament during the year. After calling 15 hotels I gave up. Every hotel was full. It seems that Rugby players are a dedicated lot and they had snapped up every available hotel room in Hong Kong or reasonable cost.

I was starting to get desperate. It was getting near breakfast time so I went down to the lobby and spoke with the front desk to beg for a room. Again, they told me that they did not have any vacancies for the next three days. As it turns out, the Eaton has a sister hotel Langham Place which is an upscale version of the Eaton. At that moment, I was ready to take anything so I agreed to take two rooms at the Langham for three days.

After lunch we took a short ride down Nathan Road to the Langham. With the help of a very amiable and capable  supervisor, we were checked in but it was too early to go to our rooms so we left out bags with the concierge and went for a walk. There was a mall attached to the Langham hotel so we decided to explore the mall. The mall was 100% high end luxury stores from basement to the top floor. What was more amazing was the fact that the mall was full of shoppers. There were people walking out of stores loaded down with shopping bags. I have never seen a more blatant example of Hong Kong's conspicuous consumption. It was clearly a demonstration of the wealth in Hong Kong.

There is only so much time that you can spend window shopping in a high end mall in Hong Kong looking at all the goods that you cannot afford. After a half an hour or so, we decided that it would be more interesting to take a walk along the waterfront.

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