The Beijing Layover Debacle
When looking at plane tickets to Japan, the lowest priced tickets were with Air China and with a layover in Beijing, China. The options were between a 5 hour layover and a 16 hour overnight layover. Never turning down a chance at a quick stop in a new country, I chose the long layover in hopes of seeing Tiananmen Square and getting a Chinese dinner. With the plane scheduled to land at 6:20pm, that’d give us plenty of time to accomplish this and make it back to sleep in the airport. All was perfect on paper.
But a common trend recently, the plane was delayed an hour. And for whatever reason, the flight took an hour longer to arrive, as well. So we ended up landing at 8:30pm and finally got through customs at about 9:15pm. We found out that the last train leaves the city for the airport at 10:30pm. It was about 19 degrees F (-7 degrees C). To top it off, the amount of English that was spoken at the airport was very limited and we did not expect that to improve as we got into the city and happened to need help getting back to the airport. Finally, we decided it wasn’t worth taking the trip into the city so we stayed in the airport.
Lucky for us, the airport was filled with seats without armrests, meaning it was possible to lie down comfortably. There was also a cool little place in the terminal with a fountain and traditional Chinese structure. So at least it felt a little bit like China, after all.