It’s a double-edged sword. On one hand, you get cheap fares. On the other, you get massive delays. Back in 2018, when we flew Air China from JFK to Thailand, we only had an hour layover between our flight from Beijing to Bangkok. When we should have boarding the flight from Beijing to Bangkok, we were only just getting off the plane. But we miraculously made that flight. The funny thing is – we left more time between flights this time around: 2.5 hours to be exact. But we missed our connecting flight from Beijing to Shanghai. This caused a domino effect because from Shanghai, we had booked a flight to Tokyo, which we also missed because there were no more flights out of Beijing for the night.
As a result, Air China shuttled us (and everybody else from that plane from JFK who missed their connecting flight) to a hotel nearby. At the hotel, all of the employees knew exactly what was going on, and there was even a sign to direct Air China passengers. This makes me think that missing the connecting flight was intentional and Air China is working with the Chinese government to make people stay in China, potentially spend money in China, therefore boosting their economy. That’s my conspiracy theory of the day, although it really isn’t THAT far-fetched.
Anyway, the Air China employee we spoke to that night was able to arrange the earliest flight to Tokyo the next morning (even though our flight to Tokyo was with a different airline – ANA). We had timed tickets to the Ghibli Museum that afternoon, so we ended up having to pay a $90 cab from the airport straight to the museum in order to make it on time. Surprisingly, this still does not deter me from flying Air China again. The flight on the way back from Shanghai to JFK was not bad at all. Everything was on time (which included a layover in Beijing), and there was actually an empty seat next to me so I had a lot of leg room. Next time, I’ll make sure there’s at least a 5-hour layover, and we don’t have any plans for when we land.