We rushed back to China to see my grandmother in case it would be the last time.
And it really became the last time.
I lead my life so that I live without regrets.
I have so many regrets around my grandmother.
Not seeing her enough in the years before now,
not letting her see me getting married, and for me to do the marital bows to her,
not giving her a chance to hold my child as I still don't have one now,
not getting to spend another Spring Festival with her again like I so wanted to,
not being able to give her one last hug before she departed forever as she was stuck in the hospital bed,
not looking at her long enough one last time before I left for the train back to Beijing, as I wanted myself to believe that she would survive this time, and that I would see her again...
Cathay Pacific. Wellington ground staff simply would not let my mom check in for her flight to &. Reason being, PCR test result is not provided.
Yet the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in New Zealand website for Chinese travelers clearly states : RAT home test can be used instead. Dated 27 Feb.
My mom took the RAT test
And took it with her upon check-in.
It didn't count for them.
They insisted on her needing a PCR.
Likewise, Cathay Pacific website Travel Restrictions section clearly states: Chinese Passport holders traveling to can use RAT test instead of PCR test.
Dated: 7 March.
But ground staff in Wellington AND Auckland simply would not accept the official information from both the airline and the New Zealand Embassy.
They forced her to book a PCR test otherwise they would not check her in. Which costed $400+.
Ground staff even suggested putting her on a flight for tomorrow if we can't secure a PCR test.
Considering our situation, we can't possibly delay the trip by another Minute.
My mom was so exasperated, and ended up collapsing on the floor.
No one even offered her a chair to sit down.
She was so upset by the whole experience.
It caused such a significant amount of emotional distress that my mom was unable to make the booking in her mental state.
I had 20min left till boarding closed at final call at this point,
and my mom still hadn't checked in yet.
I was feeling desparate and my hands were shaking as I held my mom's cellphone.
I asked to speak to the manager, who would not turn up at the check-in counter.
Ground staff at check-in called the manager, who agreed to let us check in only if we are able to show we have made a booking for a PCR test at Hong Kong side.
I was fine with that, I could work with that.
But I literally had to rush to the custom and to go through the security check myself,
Otherwise I'd miss the flight to see my grandmother myself.
I had to run to custom, and told my mom that I would book her a direct flight with Air New Zealand for today while I stood in queue.
So that she could get on a flight to China ASAP herself.
While I was in the queue,
It ended up with ground staff making the booking for her themselves.
Then they finally checked her in at 10min before Boarding time.
She boarded the on Final Call with 10min remaining before the gate closed.
Because the Queue at Auckland Airport was really bad as multiple airlines scheduled their flights at the same time.
The entire experience was a whole load of stress, distress, and despair for my mom.
And I myself was stopped right at the gate,
after being taken by a golf cart there as it was on final call already.
The very unfriendly female staff outside the gate blocked me at the gate and took my boarding passes for the next 2 connecting flights,
and forced me to book a PCR test before I was allowed to board the flight.
I asked how much longer till the gate would close?
She said, you have 6 minutes.
In a rush,
my hands shook as I held my phone,
I found the most random irrelvant and untimely testing centre inside Hong Kong at a comunity centre on a day that I wouldn't even be able to make it.
I showed the female staff the booking, she didn't even look at it,
she saw the QA code and confirmation and let me board the flight.
-- With 4 min remaining before the gate closed.
This was the most awful and devastating experience I've ever had to experience.
It was so stressful and so unnecessary.
It was all a matter of human choices,
and literally Cathay Airways staff not even following official guidelines & policies.
We were rushing back home for a family emergency.
We could not afford to waste another day.
Every single second mattered - it was actually a matter of life and death.
It was an experience of desparation and demise.
It was the only and the worst check-in and boarding experience I've ever had in my life.
The key of all of this was:
China does not WANT to see your test result. PCR or RAT.
It is Not at all a requirement at the border.
They didn't ask for it when we came through the border, at all.
The only thing needed was the QR health code which you can fill out on a form online.
Cathay Pacific Airways seems to only want to cause trouble for people instead of following official travel requirements.
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