Delays are quite common when you travel by plane, especially in China or with Chinese airlines. Over the years I had many bad delays, including one 28 hour delay on a KLM flight from Amsterdam to Shanghai (it seems the blog post about that one has been lost in cyberspace) and many 6+ hour delays because of air traffic control in China. You can’t change it, so I try not to get too upset about it, it’s just part of the deal when you fly a lot.
Last night we planned to take a 0:55 AM flight from Singapore back to China. The flight would get in around 6 AM, so I would just be home in time to wake up the kids, have breakfast with them and take them to school. But no, that did not happen, because the flight was delayed. Instead of leaving at 0:55 AM the flight would not take off until an expected 3:15 AM. During daytime a delay is a nuisance, but in the middle of the night it’s a lot worse I feel, especially when you are tired.
So what do you do in that case? Well, I went to the business lounge, found a good recliner, put on my sleeping mask and put in my ear plugs, and slept for 2 hours straight. I was sleepy after a day of meetings and was still a little jet lagged from the New Zealand trip, so I was asleep right away. I put my alarm to wake up on time (getting up after 2 hours of sleep was not too easy), found out that the flight was even more delayed and eventually boarded the plane around 3:40 AM.
The China Eastern flight that we booked was operated by an old Shanghai Airlines plane with terrible 1980s-like business class seats (a bit better than economy ones, but a far cry from what you normally get in business these days). But despite that I managed to fall asleep before departure already and only woke up around 8:15 AM, while we were starting our descent into Shanghai. All in all I had a decent sleep, despite the non-optimal situation.
The kids were not happy that Grace and I were not there to wake them up. We had talked to them over Skype video the night before, and they were very disappointed that we had not arrived yet. Scott even refused to get up until I would be there, because I had promised him that… Next time I probably won’t tell them that I will be back early the next morning, because I feel really bad about it.