BEIJING — Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman had to scramble to get to here Sunday for the start of his trade mission to China.
He was scheduled to fly from Lincoln to Chicago at about 6 a.m. in time for a noon flight from Chicago to Beijing.
But United Airlines canceled the Lincoln flight because of equipment problems late Friday night, leaving Heineman's staff just a few hours to figure out alternative travel plans for him and his wife, First Lady Sally Ganem, his security detail and several other state employees.
Joe Chapuran, who works for the Nebraska Department of Economic Development and organized the China trade mission, feared that the entire Beijing portion of the trip would be upended if Heineman missed his flight in Chicago.
But the governor and his entourage found a way. They wound up driving to Omaha, flying on Southwest Airlines to Chicago's Midway Airport, and taking a fast drive with the Illiniois State police to get to O'Hare on time for the 13-hour flight to China.