I was potentially stranded by two natural events during my return flight from China – the typhoon threatening to hit Taipei, Taiwan; and the hurricane (Ike) threatening Texas.

contingency-planningTurns out that Ike was no threat since I wasn’t flying through Houston; however, the typhoon delayed me in Hong Kong (transit city only – just ‘flying through’ as I had no business in HK this trip).

Long story short – EVA Airlines would do nothing for me – not even give me 1 HK dollar for a phone call although they gave me a non-toll-free number to call to rebook since they ‘couldn’t help me’ at the counter (WTF?!!?).

[Image: Mary wandering through airport asking “do you speak English?” and finally finding someone who does, who explains why I can’t dial the phone number correctly – the number provided included the area code, but since it was a local number, I was dialing too many digits…]

I went to travelers aid and found out that Cathay Pacific had a flight leaving in 2 hrs, directly to San Francisco. After getting a persistent busy signal from EVA, I went to Cathay, whipped out the ol’ AmEx Gold Card, and bought a one-way coach ticket for a whopping $1600+.

My reasoning:

  • I didn’t have anyplace to stay in Hong Kong, and delays were predicted at 2-3 days. So, that’s 2-3 days at a HK hotel, with attendant food, transportation, etc.
  • I had clients to service on Monday, and if I was delayed, would have to cancel or postpone.
  • To top it off, it’s the mid-Autumn festival this weekend in China, which means that everyone travels, hotels, transit, etc. are all super-busy (imagine 3 day weekends in the US, to get an idea of airline lines/hotel bookings) so I was concerned that I’d be gouged for a hotel while waiting for the flights to clear (predicted at 1-3 days, I’m guessing 2-3 at a minimum).

Sometimes you just gotta bite the bullet and make something happen – even if it’s not in the original plan.