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Alice Yang
Yang is a contributing columnist for the Fort Bend Star.
She is a student at Stephen F. Austin High School-FBISD.

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.

Fiasco at the airport


Four-thirty: time when I woke up to get ready for my flight to China. Seven-thirty: time of intended flight on United Airlines. Nine-thirty: time of actual flight on United Airlines due to delay of absent crew members. Two Hours: time pushed back for flight. Four hours: time spent at the Houston airport.

Okay, so the first flight was delayed a couple of hours. That happens. But problem was, we had to transfer at San Fran, and the next flight wasnít going to wait for our delay.

After waiting in line for two hours at check-in, the lady told us that we will for sure miss the next flight. She recommended we switch to Air China, because United only flies to Beijing once a day. Either switch or sleep the night on the bench in San Fran.

Well, switching seemed like the best solution of course, and we eagerly agreed. But there was a slight problem: Air China was already jam-packed full. However, after messing around with computer data for half an hour, she finally got us some seats. Our names were confirmed, and we were officially in the system.

And so we boarded the plane feeling extremely blessed because we got the seats on time. Some people behind us in line may have had to stay the night in San Fran, waiting for the next dayís flight.

We arrived a little late, and ran, rolling luggage and all to get in the cream roll line that was swirling itself around and around in the lobby. Apparently May 30th was one of the most popular dates to go to China. No wonder all the flights were full.

So we wait in line, for about four hours. Yes, four hours. There were hundreds of people waiting, each taking like ten minutes at the check-in desk, so you can imagine the scene.

Worst of all, I didnít eat breakfast. And now, itís the afternoon, and I was famished. I took a stroll to the food area only to shrink back when I see a shrink-wrapped half cut of a deli sandwich selling at eight bucks.

Finally, we reach the front. Passport in hand, luggage ready, we eagerly told our names to the attendant guy so he could find our confirmation.

Then, he told us our names werenít in the system. Nothing. Zero. Nada. Gone. But, but we confirmed at Houston and the lady told us we had reserved seats. Nope. But, but our flight here was delayed. Sorry, not our problem. But, but we need to get to China today. There are no seats.

With a frantic look around, we see five or something people from the delayed flight that were in the same situation as us. They even sported the same frowsy, frantic, famished look coupled with dreary eyes and face-splitting yawns.

The group of us rejects stood together to chatter furiously in Chinese about the injustice of it all. Possible night stay in San Fran, no food, waiting in lines for six hours, and no ticket on the flight. Then this student started repeatedly saying the F word, grabbing his hair in frustration.

We were all put on a wait-list. If people didnít come for the flight, we would be allowed their spots. Of course, that meant another hour or so waiting because they have to wait til the last minute to close up the check-in counter.

Praying, hoping, worrying, and considering a reroute to Shanghai or Los Angeles, all of us still banked on some people to not show up so we can fill their seats.

At last, finally, four of the six of us got tickets. Apparently some people didnít come and we were able to get on. The two pitiful people left over had to be rerouted to Los Angeles to wait.

Sixteen hours: time spent actually flying. Eight hours: time spent delayed at the airports. A whole dayís worth of nothing: priceless.

Yang is a contributing columnist for the Fort Bend Star. She is a student in FBISD.

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   Last Update:  July 04, 2007