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We won't get off

I doubt you will read about this happening in the United States.

BEIJING (Reuters) - Fifty-two passengers on a Chinese airliner whose flight was cancelled due to bad weather refused to disembark and instead spent the night onboard before finally leaving to their destination, local media said on Friday. The passengers boarded for their 8 p.m. (1:00 a.m. EDT) flight from Beijing to the eastern coastal city of Yantai, but after more than three hours of sitting on the tarmac, the airline cancelled the flight, the Beijing Morning Post said.

"Most of the about 200 passengers disembarked to complete flight transfer procedures, but a Mrs. Shi was one of 52 passengers who refused to get off," the newspaper said.

"Mrs. Shi said that she and her colleagues had to get to Yantai for a meeting, they were on a very tight schedule, and could not accept the cancellation of the flight."

At 3 a.m. the airline finally told them they could take a 7.30 a.m. flight to Yantai.

"The passengers said that in the 12 hours or so they spent on the aircraft, the crew provided continuous service, and all along offered food and drink," the report said. Chinese media frequently report stories of badly behaved passengers refusing to get off delayed aircraft or running amok at airports following delays, but also criticise airlines for not giving enough information to passengers about delays.

The crew stayed around to give them service. Just incredible, if it's true.

Some 20 years ago I was flying from Florida to the Philippines with connections in Dallas and Los Angeles. My plane left the gate in Dallas around 5 p.m. We didn't take all till around 8:30. The presence of thunderstorms in the area, preventing my flight(and others) from taking off.

This was in the days when passengers could smoke on board. When we finally took off, passengers cheered. I don't remember anyone getting angry about the delay. If they did, it was kept to themselves.

Today if a airline keeps passengers confined to a plane for 3.5 hours or no matter what the reason, it is likely to be on the evening news. The lawsuits to follow soon afterwards. Have times changed that much?


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Comments (6)

Have times changed... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Have times changed that much?

Yes. Passengers were treated with respect and their reasonable needs and expectations were provided for by the airlines that knew service was important. Nowadays, flying is like riding in a cattle car.

Not to worry, airlines as we know them today are not viable businesses with oil above $130 a barrel. Right now they're burning up (literally) their shareholders' equity to keep their prices competitive, but they can only do that for so long before going out of business. Once all but the biggest airlines have gone under the prices will triple or go even higher. Then when there's only a small pool of travelers the service levels of the past will be restored. Of course, most of us will be saying home or driving. If you ever wanted to vacation in some distant location now is the time to go. Wait and you'll have to go by train and boat.

20 years ago you were in a ... (Below threshold)
glenn:

20 years ago you were in a planefull of grownups. Now you might fly with a planefull of spoiled brats. Regardless of age. And it was even better 40 years ago.

Not to pick a nit, but the ... (Below threshold)
Boyd Author Profile Page:

Not to pick a nit, but the time of day cited in the story kinda stinks to me. As far as I can tell, if it's 8 p.m. in Beijing, it's 7 a.m. Eastern Time. Conversely, if it's 1 a.m. on the East Coast, it's 2 p.m. in Beijing.

But I'm just an anal retentive engineer who can't stand to read wild inaccuracies, even if they don't really mean anything or affect anything.

I'd venture that they've ch... (Below threshold)
Jamie:

I'd venture that they've changed that much. Twenty years ago, chances were that you were treated decently by the airline employees. As you mentioned specifically, smoking on board was allowed, and food and drinks were complimentary.

Now, the airlines are staffed with people for whom minimum wage is an overpayment; something as simple as enjoying a cigarette is banned, not only in the airplane, but in the airport as well (as you sit and wait for the TSA-advised two hours until your flight boards); and if you wish to have a .25 oz bag of peanuts with your soft drink, it's going to cost you around $5.

By the time most people have gotten on board the plane and mentally braced themselves for the stupid "safety lecture" and the flight itself, they're not in any mental state to put up with any more inconveniences.

If only one airline were to suddenly decide that they were going to charge a fair (not necessarily lowest, mind you) rate for flights, treat their passengers like customers instead of livestock, actually show some efficiency in keeping up and taking care of their passengers' bags, and making airline travel actually enjoyable again, they'd force the others into line. As it is, we get what we deserve, for sitting idly by while things got to this point.

It has changed in 20 years ... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

It has changed in 20 years of liberal education. Grownup's used to act like grownup's, now they act like the spoiled 2 YO that didn't get what they 'demanded'. I give a lot of brain dead liberals the KMA attitude lately. I'm not above leaving a shopping basket full of intended purchases setting and walk out when the smart a**es act up. I don't know of one item that only one store sells.

So your theory is that bann... (Below threshold)
Brett:

So your theory is that banning smoking on airlines is a step backwards? So, if there are 10 smokers and 100 non-smokers on a plane, and that plane sits on a ramp for 3 hours essentially trapping the occupants, things would be better if you allowed the 10 to smoke and make the rest miserable? Why - because not indulging drug addicts makes them cross? Interesting reasoning there.

Of course people don't put up with airlines anymore - they treat you like a nuisance. But the one and only improvement they have EVER made since the days of regulation is disallowing smoking.




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