Cordal journalist and now broadcaster, Aimí Ní Riada was involved in an extraordinary, real-life ordeal at Pu Dong Airport in Shanghai recently.
She wrote in her own, excellent, unique and descriptive style of the uncaring, unhelpful airport staff she encountered,
However, the plot played itself out with a truly amazing and heart-warming twist. The following is Aimí’s account of her ordeal:
Long Human Decency Post Alert
By Aimí Ní Riada
Sitting in Pu Dong Airport, Shanghai ready to board a 17hr 55min flight to Dublin.
This morning, on checking in, Lufthansa staff told me that my flight had been cancelled because I took an alternative flight to get to Shanghai as a result of being called for a last minute job interview!
On the Flight Back
I called and told the airline that I wouldn’t make the flight over but that I was still going to be on the flight back – they assured me this was graaaand.
Turns out that it was NOT grand – queue the evocation of knots in stomach, needing to get sick feelings of anxiety and blood running cold.
Extortionate Priced Tickets
My only option was to purchase ANOTHER ticket for the same flight for AN EXTORTIONATE price (thanks Chinese New Year) or buy an alternative ticket which would take me from Shanghai-Hong Kong-Frankfurt-Dublin and take the bones of two days at €1100.
The second was not really an option because Katie Reidy and I had a travel plan and also I have to get to work this weekend.
Severely Unhelpful Staff
I sat at the desk with the severely UNHELPFUL staff begging them to help me as I clearly had my E- ticket in front of me but there was not one customer service desk so they basically ignored me. Side note: there was only ONE SEAT left on this particular flight home and time was tickinnnnggg…
Young German Man
A young German man beside me had the exact same problem and was quoted a price 10 times the cost of his original flight to London.
We bonded a little over how unhelpful the airline was as neither of us could get through to the customer service numbers we found online.
He ended up paying the crazy price for his ticket and I certainly couldn’t afford my one so I basically sat there silently crying and searching for alternative routes the whole way through the ordeal!!
The next part of the story is literally like something from a soppy Christmas film!!!
As I rummaged through my online banking frantically trying to gather the money together – which just wasn’t going to happen – the German man handed his card to the lady behind the desk again and said he was paying for my flight as well.
The lady asked for my passport again while I just stood there in disbelief and said ABSOLUTELY NOT.
He turned and said “You asked me if I was going to get sorted in the middle of your ordeal, come on, you asked about me when you were struggling yourself. You were f*cked when I was f*cked and now I’m sorted it’s only right that you’re sorted too.”
I obviously made him give me his bank details/ email address etc so I could transfer the money to him and he said
Pay When You Can
“Don’t worry, no rush. Pay it back when you can, if you can. As long as you get home, that’s all that matters!” He hugged me and disappeared like a dark knight and legged it to his gate – never to be seen again! I, hand on heart, have NEVER been so emotional/grateful to anyone in my entire life. Like WHAT THE HECK JUST HAPPENED?! I am so beyond shock right now. Anyway, if you’re having a bad week, I hope that restored your faith in humanity in some shape or form! Feel free to share the kindness!!
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