I flew back to Beijing yesterday (May 2) from Taipei on Korean Airlines, via Seoul. I had signed up to take an 1130AM shuttle bus from my hotel to the airport in order to arrive in time for my 345pm flight. My plan was to hang out at the hotel in the morning working on my computer.
By845AM, I was all packed, and hauled my stuff down to the lobby. On my way to the lobby I suddenly had the idea to try to catch the 9AM shuttle to the airport. Since I was flying on a frequent flier business class ticket, I had access to the lounge, where I was thinking I would get a better internet connection. It seemed like a decent place to wait a few hours for my afternoon flight. When I got to the lobby I asked the conference coordinator if I could switch and take the 9AM shuttle instead. No problem.
The shuttle bus got to the airport around 1015 and I headed to the Korean Air check-in counter. "Window seat, please." Like everyone else I encountered in Taiwan, she was sweet and polite and dutifully went through all her procedures. When she was finished, she handed me my passport and boarding pass and said "boarding time is 11:45." Come again??? "What time does the flight depart," I asked her, the blood now draining from my face and my heart starting to race as it slowly dawned on me what was happening (and what almost happened). "12:15," she replied.
For some reason, the arrival time in Seoul (3:45pm) had gotten deeply embedded into my brain as the departure time from Taipei. If I hadn't impulsively decided to take the early shuttle I would have arrived at the airport as my flight was departing!!! It took me a few minutes to recover, and when I did I said a quick prayer of thanksgiving for being delivered from my stupidity. God is good. I'm an idiot!
I made it back into Beijing right on time last night, and am now re-packing my bags to fly back to Tokyo and on to Minnesota tomorrow! I know my flight is at 9AM. I was on it last Monday morning! By the time I land in Minnesota, I will have been to 5 countries in the space of 1 week: China, Japan (twice), Taiwan, Korea, and the US.