Tuesday, May 28, 2013

China 2013 Part IX: The Bitch at the Business Center

This post is dedicated to everyone who makes Shanghai Pudong International Airport look like an architectural giant with a pea-sized brain and zero understanding of courtesy and manners.

April 8, 2013 - We arrived about five hours ahead of my flight (Terence would be taking a 9PM Hong Kong Airlines for Ocean Park). I checked the departures board to see Air New Zealand, American Airlines, and Turkish Airlines, among other beauties, as the night's offerings. So, blessed with intellect, I made my way to the business center to check-in online and procure my boarding pass in advance, as the counters were scheduled to open only two hours before the flight. 

The following is a rough sketch of the exchange that took place at Pudong Terminal 2's business center, starring Me and Business Center Woman (BCW):

Me: Excuse me, I want to go online for advanced check-in.

BCW: (points to computer stall).

(The computer is in Chinese.)

Me: Is there no English?

BCW (in Mandarin): If you don't understand it, might as well not use it.

How... warm. And nice. But of course, I could maneuver my way through a simple sea of Chinese characters. I had my boarding pass printed and took the photo below of that bitch before leaving.

Proceed to immigration. But oh, what's this? The first-line inspectors don't know how to read a web check-in boarding pass? Right. So I had to do some explanation, which reminded me of economics class back in 4th year when we did the papers' stock exchange section for the first time.

I fell in line. My turn. Immigration officer fumbled with the boarding pass - first time, as well, to see it printed on letter size. Some hushed chatter in Shanghainese. More chatter. Officer got out of the counter and convened with supervisor overseeing things from the corner. Officer returned.

And told me that my boarding pass couldn't be accepted because it might be a fake. 


Some nice-guy arguing occurred, after which I had no other choice but to wait everything out at the check-in hall for another two hours. White Caucasian guy behind me at immigration suffered the same fate as well - actually, who knows how many undergo this senselessness everyday?! Later on, it became a game of contending with the snobs at the check-in counter, those non-smiling gibbons. The moral of the story is: Pudong does not recognize self-printed boarding passes derived from online check-in. How... advanced.

And a final warning for those planning to do nighttime airplane photography at Pudong using the ever-dependable digital camera: The lights suck.

 Air Mauritius A340-300

 Singapore Airlines B777-200ER, ever graceful.

 Air China A340-300

 Lufthansa A340-600! The last time we met was in Manila 2005, during the relatively short life of  the Frankfurt-Guangzhou-Manila vv. route. Bonus: One of the remaining United B747-400s bearing the blue-and-white livery.

 Finally! Aeroflot B767-300ER!

 A dirty democracy and the communist.

It's not everyday you see TWO Emirates B777-300ERs!

Postscript: Quite a scene during arrival at NAIA. As the plane taxied for Terminal 3, this unruly Mainland Chinese male passenger just got up and tried retrieving his bag from the overhead luggage bin. Flight attendant had to convey all the necessary emotions over intercom. Truly, Mr. China could not have been more excited to step foot on the gates of hell.

PREVIOUS: China 2013 Part VIII: At Cannon Bay
NEXT: China 2013 Part X: The People of the Republic

1 comment:

Terence Lincolne Kua said...

TIn Lun has been on board that Lufthansa. 'Twas Manila-Bangkok-Frankfurt.