I traveled to Qingdao China last month; the following are some of my stories from my trip:
On September 19, I was supposed to be on the Air Canada 1pm flight from Toronto to Beijing China then to catch a connecting flight to Qingdao, China. Being a good passenger, I arrived at the Toronto Pearson International Airport hours before my flight. I was issued a boarding pass and instructed to go to gate E72 to wait for my flight. After clearing custom and security check. I sat and wait and then noticed on the boarding time been changed to 1:55pm instead of 1pm. I figured my flight must been delayed but later noticed the sign by the gate boarding time was at 2:55pm, two hours later than my original flight.
I patiently waited while killing time on my computer and finally it was boarding time.
I had selected my seat when I purchased my ticket online and chosen the number 55 because my last name “Ng” in Chinese means 5, my seat was H 55.
After putting my carry on bag on the overhead bin and was about to take my seat, a man also Chinese came over said I had taken his seat! We checked our boarding passes and realized we both had the same seat, H55. I flagged down a flight attendant to solve this problem. After he examined our boarding passes and passports and discovered not only we share the same number of seat, we also share the same first and last name!
As the flight attendant left to try to work out our seat problem the man and I started to chat. We both agree how incredible this odd was, we both share the same name, travel on the same flight and leaving from the same city on the same day! Even more, our ancestors were the same, from Taishan China, of southern China. The only different is our Chinese middle name.
When the flight attendant returned, I was told I needed to leave the plane and back to the gate. And then, I figured out what has happened, I was given the other Alfred Ng’s seat with his passport information and put on a later flight which explained the time different on my supposed flight. I was not listed on this flight!
The check in attendant must see my name on the passenger list without realized there are two of us with the same name. She must assume I was the second Alfred Ng and issued his boarding pass to me with his ID information on the second flight. My flight has left two hour before with my bag but without me. The female gate attendant was working swiftly on her computer trying to find a way to transfer me from the first flight to the second flight. Meanwhile another attendant was paging the baggage department to make sure my bag will be there when I landed.
The first attendant just look at me and shake his head, said how amazed with the 1.6 billion of Chinese and two of us with the same first and surname would chosen the same seat then met under this amazing odd. Finally, the gate attendant able to transfer me onto this flight with my real ID!
As I reentered the plane I realized they were holding the plane for me. The captain and the crews already made the welcome and safety announcement. I found my new seat or new seats; I was assigned a seat with a window and two empty seats.
As the plane was taken off I started to worry as I had no way contact my friend in Qingdao of my delay. Would I able to make it on the connecting flight to Qingdao?
My friend Michael has arranged a local tour guide Rong to meet me at the Beijing airport and to help me to broad my connecting flight. Would my bag even make it to Beijing with me?
To be continue.