Turbulent Journey to China: Angry Showdown on the Plane

After we crossed the final bridge connecting Hong Kong to the Mainland, my turbulent journey officially started.

We pulled up in front of the customs and immigration border and were told to bring all of our luggage with us. Fun. Thankfully since it was early, passing through customs was relatively fast and painless. I lugged my possessions through the building and out to a bus terminal. My bus was not there. After ten frantic minutes I decided to just hop on another bus belonging to the same company. When I asked the ticketing agent, he shrugged and motioned to try my luck. Success, with no questions asked. After I hopped on, the bus driver started the engine and we were on the road.

Despite some Shenzhen highway traffic, I arrived at Baoan Intl Airport around 9 30. After painless check-in and security process, I plopped down with my kindle at my boarding gate for my 11am flight to Hangzhou.

At 10 30, we were admitted onto the plane. I was pretty happy to discover that I had an entire row to myself.

3 hours later when we still hadn’t budged and I was getting lightheaded from decreased oxygen in the cabin, I wasn’t feeling so delighted. Neither were my fellow passengers. A verbal riot erupted as furious passengers gave the cabin crew a piece of their mind. One lady screamed at a steward for making her miss her meeting. Another yelled angrily for compensation. Several middle-aged stood up and blocked the way for escaping flight attendants. Intense showdown.

When things started to get ugly.

When things started to get ugly.

The intensity escalated as passengers teamed up to wreak havoc and send a message. The lady behind me suggested we all get off the plane and on the tarmac to block other planes. Another man pumped his fist and shouted out “Just because we are Chinese it doesn’t mean we will take sh*t quietly”. The flight attendants on the other hand, could not provide a reasonable excuse aside from, “Sorry, we don’t know either, except that it’s the flight control center’s decision to prevent congestion on the runway.” This did not fly with my fellow passengers, so another airport official came on and stated it was due to weather conditions in Hangzhou. Another passenger promptly pulled out his smartphone and stated it was sunny in Hangzhou. Lie fail.

Angry Chinese People

Angry Chinese People

I was supposed to arrive at Hangzhou at 1pm, and take the airport shuttle to meet my dad at 2. It was 1 40pm, and there I was still stuck in Shenzhen on a plane full of angry Chinese people. With no working Chinese phone, internet, or means of communication. Ridiculous.

I flagged down a steward and he handed me his smartphone to contact my dad. People were restless and angry phone calls filled the air.

At 2 30, we finally took off. 2 hours later, I finally landed in Hangzhou. I collected my luggage and prepared to find the shuttle. My grandparents from my mommy’s side beat me to it. It was the sweetest thing ever: they decided to surprise me at the airport, but ended up waiting for me for 4 hours. Poor Grandpa and Grannie. Their driver finally relieved me of my luggage, and we were off to my other grandparents house.

11 hours after I left Hong Kong, I finally made it to my destination. What a memorable experience I never want to repeat!

M

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