I am now stuck in Beijing Airport. Air China has decided to cancel my flight to Shanghai, without giving any reasons. There were just over 100 passengers for the original flight of a Boeing 777 aircraft, they probably thought it wasn't worth it to operate such a large aircraft with so few passengers.
Canceling a flight because there are not enough passengers is something typical of US and "mainland" Chinese airlines, but not for Cathay and Dragonair or most large international airlines in Asia.
Another reasons may be because this is a domestic flight and they just don't have a small aircraft available.
Will this happen to these large International airlines if they too operates short domestic flights like this one?
I guess we will never know.
[Update: Sep. 17, 2008 20:30] It turns out the new gate is way on the opposite end of this huge airport terminal. We ended up having to take a bus to the plane. It was way out, parked in an area where they store planes that are used for flights on following day. The aircraft finally used was a Boeing 747-400 Combi.