— Mikko Välimäki (@mvalimaki) January 7, 2017
Had a longer stopover at SFO today. Decided to challenge the weather and rode up to Marin for a 20K trail run. Must have been one of the toughest running races I’ve ever done. Partly because of poor training background but more importantly because of heavy rain & wind. Visibility was maximum 100 meters over the course. At some points just 20 meters or so and I had to hold on to the cap so it didn’t fly away. Also the course is quite tough with 700m total vertical ascend. When I saw a sign saying 3.4 miles or 5.8km to Rodeo Beach I felt like being betrayed. Legs were all done and I was ready to speed down. Somehow I could however carry on the remainder of the course which was either downhill or flat. Results here.
Been stuck in Hong Kong for the last 20 hours or so. Came yesterday from Taipei on Cathay flight CX531, which was about 2 hours late. I had 2:30 to make the connection to Helsinki on Finnair AY070. Looked promising when Cathay parked next to the gate where Finnair plane was waiting. Still 30 mins left.
Ran out of the plane, there was somebody with a sign Finnair / Helsinki, and gave me the gate number. Off through the transfer security. Fast sprint to the gate. Still 15 mins to go, final call blinking, the last people boarding. Made it!
!or what? Actually there seems to be an argument ongoing. Xavier from the same Taipei flight is denied access. Getting heat. WTF!? I’m giving my boarding pass to the people at the gate, I believe working for Cathay or some airline service company, who say something along the lines of “Sorry sir, you have been already taken out of this flight.” Still somebody checks in and walks to the plane. Excuse me what are you talking about?
They explain to have called Cathay and asked to take me, Xavier and others who came from Taipei out of this flight. Why?! “Because your checked-in luggage would not have made it.” Again, WTF?! My checked-in luggage is very often late, comes next day or so and I am ok with that. This is a bs explanation I tell them. Please rebook and get us in now. They keep on repeating the same, Chinese style, bureaucratic, cold crap as if it would help. Xavier goes off the limits shouting these people face-to-face. I also tell them something inappropriate in Finnish. Some security guy is standing in the middle of the way to the plane to make sure we can’t get in there even though we have valid boarding passes at hand. It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.
I am asking who the f*ck made the call to get us off the flight. It is unclear, nobody wants to take responsibility. Did Finnair just kick us out to get some stand-by guys in or was it Cathay? Who knows. Real reason is not told. We watch there helplessly as the plane stands at the gate. One woman who gets the same treatment starts to cry. The plane docks off. According to flight statistics info it left 45 mins later. What a piece of crap.
We get back to the transfer desk. What a chaos. People from the Taipei flight are taken as a special group, case by case depending on the destination. We are the last to get any help. Hours go by. First they say the only option for us is to get on a Turkish Airlines flight combination through Istanbul that would arrive sometime middle of Sunday. We refuse that bs offer and ask them to get something through Central Europe or direct Finnair. I bet they are just trying to cost down. I’m browsing options and can see there are seats on Cathay and BA via London as well which would arrive late Saturday. They claim those flights are full, which is obviously not true. We demand Finnair. Finally get a word of new Finnair tickets for the next day and a hotel voucher four hours later, after 4am. Need to talk to get another voucher to eat something. They give us some $10 to get into McDonalds. That’s just hilarious but it’s so late it doesn’t matter anymore. We don’t get our luggage, it remains somewhere checked-in, so we can keep our dirty clothes. We get to the hotel in some crappy industrial area middle of Kowloon at 5am.
Wake up 3pm to realize they gave no ticket, boarding pass or anything to the next flight. Xavier calls and says I should call Finnair right away to get the ticket. I do and I get myself a seat. Sounds like I was booked on the flight but it was not confirmed or in some overbooked category without a seat. Get an automatic email confirmation from Finnair that I should be good. Fine. First time they get back to me though would have appreciated something more personal. Get to Starbucks to leave a few bucks to Hong Kong before getting back to the airport to write this. Compensation so far? Nothing. Oh, the $10 McDonald’s voucher. Should have saved that one.