The Layover (Taipei)

On our way back from the Philippines we had what was supposed to be a short layover in Taipei, Taiwan. If I had known that we were going to be stuck there for over 12 hours then I would have gotten in a taxi and gone to see some of the city. Upon arriving at the Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport we learned that our connecting flight was delayed.

But Why? And for how long? We don’t know. Nobody told us anything. So we waited. One hour turned into two, two turned into four, and so on.

A large crowd of about a hundred passengers waited at the terminal without food, blankets, coffee or any information about when we would be leaving. My wife and I made the best of our time by wandering through the airport. We took pictures and pretended to hitch-hike for a ride back to Hawaii.

When we returned to the terminal we noticed that the large crowd had thinned considerably. And there were whispers of an insurrection of angry passengers taking place at the office of China Airlines. We began to follow the crowd through the airport and when we reached the office we found about twenty or more of our fellow passengers shouting in the face of a very sad and humbled Chinese man.

Maybe it was the mob mentality but it didn’t take long for me to join in with the rest of the crowd and air my grievances. The leader of the uprising was a middle aged Italian man named Luigi who I had lovingly nicknamed Garibaldi for his charisma and revolutionary spirit.

Luigi “Garibaldi” convinced the Chinese man to draft  a letter admitting that China Airlines staff had left a hundred passengers stranded in a cold, dark terminal without food, drink, blankets or information. Luigi also insisted that he write in the letter a recommendation to his superiors that every passenger be refunded for the price of our airfare.

Well we never got a refund for the airfare but we did get some food vouchers. My wife and I spent the remainder of our layover in the food court eating hot soup and drinking Taiwanese beer. I don’t recall how long it was before that plane finally arrived but I do remember the entire cabin breaking into cheers and applause as we raced down the runway and ascended into the air.

Never again China Airlines – Never Again!

Maybe someday Taiwan – Maybe Someday!

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