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SNA- Trips to China Part II

Home > China > Travel | Food and Wine | Unusual Things to do
by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (subscribe)
Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
Published June 20th 2014
Pack your sense of humour and wear it daily
SNA travel tours
Waiting. Waiting. Waiting!

The flight was cancelled which meant we weren't going to get to Chengdu in time to make our flight. We rang Sichuan Airlines. They said someone would be at Chengdu to help us.

Another 2am arrival and Chengdu airport was almost barren. We were tired, upset and totally irrational.

We did eventually find a young man. Although he possibly now has grey hair. He was not from the airline but worked at the airport. He said we needed to find a hotel as there were no flights out that night. We said it was Sichuan's fault and we shouldn't be out of pocket. I guess we raised our voices. Then he said, "I'm an intern. It's my first day on the job and I can't handle this. " He then proceeded to cry.

This has to be the lowest point of our trip. We hugged and comforted him.

The young man finally got through to Sichuan Airlines and got permission to organize us a hotel.

I use the term 'hotel" loosely. As we drove along dark streets the others who had been stranded previously said, "This feels a lot like the accommodation we had in Shanghai and it was ghastly."

No smoking! At least they could have got rid of the evidence.

SNA tours Beijing
Although evidence to the contrary

And it was. We sat in the lobby looking at the NO SMOKING sign next to the overflowing ashtray. We sagged across the couches dreading the hard beds.

Rest while you can before you experience the beds

Our room had a mosquito coil. It had a squat toilet. There were seniors in our group. The young man from Melton found a new girlfriend – a large black cockroach in his bed.

Our door didn't lock. There was a wake up call which seemed to come only a few minutes after we shut our eyes (Something I must say the Hilton never managed to organise.) The caller simply said, "Let's go."

SNA tours china beijing
Say no more!

We raced downstairs. For breakfast we were thrown a lump of cake and some lucky people even got a bottle of water.

Breakfast anyone? Some people even gave it back.

At the airport I showed photos of our previous night's accommodation to the Sichuan officials who were telling us to go back to the hotel, as there were no flights to Melbourne for three days.

review sichuan airlines
They didn't seem to care about us

They wanted us back there as it was affiliated with their airline.

All this time we kept in contact with SNA.

Sichuan airline review
The waiting game

While there were times the resident wits in our party referred to SNA as Seriously Not Acceptable I must say they came through for us. And they spoke Chinese which none of us could becoming buffers and interpreters through all this mess.

Sichuan airlines review
Q for sure. Decidedly questionable.

There were some heated phone discussion so I would suggest they really pulled some punches.

We were whisked away to a businessman's hotel. It was not the Hilton but it was luxury after our previous night.

SNA tours
A bit of an improvement on the last hotel provided by the airline

At midday Garry arrived. He was freelance tour guide employed by SNA. He said. "I am sorry all this has happened. But I'm here now and I am going to take care of you. "

We almost fell into his arms.

SNA tours Chengdu
Living it up in Chengdu

SNA tours Chengdu
Not all bad!

He took one look at the lunch we were being served and phoned SNA. The next three days were a whirl of fantastic tours (pandas, markets, historic sites) great meals (outside the hotel) and the company of Garry our knowledgeable guide who did not take us to any jade factories.

SNA Chengdu
A chance to visit the pandas. We believe this one was a teenager.

All of this at SNA's expense.

By the time we boarded that flight we felt we would travel with SNA again.

SNA tours Chengdu
Chengdu - chance to see the world's biggest shopping centre

The balls-up was mostly with Sichuan Airlines, which doesn't have enough flights in and out of Melbourne at present to be effective. Plus some of their affiliated accommodation is less than acceptable.

Surprisingly when we did get our flight it went without a hitch.

Our intern we had upset on his first day of work even came out to say goodbye. He wanted a photo.

Perhaps that photo is even now doing the rounds and we will never be allowed back. That SNA group from Melbourne. Those Seriously Nasty Australians.

SNA Chengdu
There were times when our personalities totally changed

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Why? They are cheap enough.
When: Regular departures
Where: To China
Cost: About a $1000 for a week including flights
Your Comment
Hi Nadine, my wife and I were a group ( SNA) that flew out of Melbourne back in August (2013 ) for Beijing via Shanghai.

Our plane was 5 hours late leaving Melbourne and we missed the connecting flight.

Some dozen or so of us were herded into a bus ,taken to a Grade 2 hotel near airport , also woken up early, with take away breakfast for an early flight to Beijing.
Thankfully the airport staff looked after us well and a rep from SNA also came, stayed at the hotel with us to guide us through.

After missing most of our early trip, we ventured on and had an amazing trip for value.

We recommended our daughter to go, she went later in October and had virtually a trouble free trip....thank god..
Therefore, the airlines seem to be the cause...

We all venture on
by jayce (score: 1|11) 3268 days ago
Well done, Nadine, for keeping your sense of humour and sharing your story. It did make me smile.
by abbyl (score: 2|115) 3280 days ago
Loved the two reviews and the delightful humour. I am glad you were still able to smile after all the fiascos. I will stay away from both SNA and Sichuan Airlines.
by Joy (score: 3|1945) 3282 days ago
I loved this, it was hilarious - I felt sorry for you and your party, I've done my share of sitting on airport floors at 4am, but I sense that we were meant to laugh and you came through it ok so you could afford for it to be a bit 'tongue in cheek'. Still smiling now. :)
by Margaret Waters (score: 1|91) 3284 days ago
What does SNA stand for?
by Kgilb (score: 0|7) 3118 days ago
My husband and I just returned from a trip to China and Yanzee cruise 4 weeks ago that we bought through a Scoopon voucher. The whole trip included the 2 international flights 3 internal flights and 2 train trips as well as the cruise at the end.We were totally amazed at how well organized the SNA tour leaders were,always there to meet us at our arrival points.only complaint was a guide in Shangai named You who gave us 1/2 an our to shop and didn't know where we needed to go to buy a North Face jacket as he didn't shop!!! Sichuan airlines we found the seats very small.the cruise ship we were on catered all the 3 meals for the Chinese.On the 1st. Stop of the cruise we weren't doing a tour and they would' let us get off. May 2015
by Brian (score: 0|5) 2939 days ago
Sorry to hear things went so badly, but glad that everything turned out okay in the end.
by Bastion Harrison (score: 4|12643) 3287 days ago
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