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Off To China!

Back in July, Eduardo and I found a great flight deal to China and booked it right away. We decided for this trip we would arrange a private tour…just us, a guide, a van and a driver. Our tour would take us to Beijing, Xian and Shanghai. The tour operator made all the arrangements including transfers to/from airports, hotels and train stations. They booked all the hotels, customized an itinerary with us, arranged entrance to all the monuments and even arranged lunches at traditional restaurants.

Since the flights were direct and everything was prearranged with our own tour guide, I figured this would be the perfect trip to invite Mom and Dad on. So I checked Air Canada the day after we booked our flights and the deal was still available. After a quick call to them in the middle of the day, to my shock and delight, they said YES! The stars seemed to align to I figured I would try my luck with Christopher and invite him. Again I was completely surprised and he and his girlfriend Angie said yes too. So now we were a party of 6 bound for China.

On the evening of November 5th, the four of them arrived in Vancouver from Edmonton. They showed up the night before to ensure we all made the flight together the next day.

Our flight was November 6th at 12:40pm. We got to the airport about 3 hours prior to the flight and I’m glad we did. We parked the truck in long term parking and dragged our bags to the Skytrain that took us two stops to airport arrivals. Walking towards the Air Canada check-in counter, we passed what looked to be a couple hundred kids in school uniforms. We got through the check-in in fairly short order and made our way to security. Unfortunately, all those kids arrived in line before us and the line was a couple hundred people deep, snaking its way down the airport. I have a credit card that gives me front of the line access to the security line in Vancouver. I’d never used it with six people before but luckily they let us all through. We likely turned a one hour plus wait into 5-10 minutes and we were through!

After wandering around the gate area for a bit, some of us had a quick lunch at the nearby food court. It wasn’t long after that, it was time to board, by zones of course. Mom and Dad upgraded their flight to Premium Economy so they got board in the zone 2. My credit card also gets me into zone 2 so we boarded with them. I think Christopher and Angie had zone 4, so they were last on. Mom and Dad were only 7-8 rows in front of us in the fancy seats with better leg room and wider seats. They also had 2 seats to themselves. The rest of us were in regular economy in 3 seat configurations, but we were together in 2 rows.

We were fed three times on our 9.5 hour flight. There was a dinner, a lunch and breakfast. Of course Mom and Dad being the fancy seats had a menu to choose their first meal from while the rest of us had a choice of 2 options.

Next stop, Beijing!

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