Air travel delays in China are becoming epidemic. According to an article published today in Time, only 18 percent of flights departing from Beijing in June took off on time.
Chinese travelers are understandably frustrated with this problem, but their collective anger has taken a turn for the worse. Physical altercations, as seen in the video above, and arguments between travelers and airline workers have been documented. The latest protest tactic enacted by the travelers affected by the prevalent delays are sit-ins: passengers have been refusing to leave grounded planes that were subject to delay until compensated for the inconvenience. On July 28 in Dalian, passengers on two separate planes allegedly refused to exit and stayed put in their seats instead.
But staging a sit-in or becoming aggressive toward airline employees isn’t going to affect the problem because the core of the problem is centered in the very infrastructure of Chinese air travel: poor management by airline operators. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has attributed a whopping 42 percent of delays to mismanaged operations of airline carriers –- a problem that trickles down to individual flights from the top of the corporate airline pyramid, not the other way around.
The problem has gotten so bad some airlines are training their crews to defend themselves.
Police in New York and Seattle were called in to investigate when a man ditched his luggage in order to avoid overweight baggage fees, NBC reports.
The unidentified traveler was going to take Delta Air Lines Flight 1452 from Seattle to JFK when he was told his baggage was overweight and he would have to pay $1,400 in fees. The man decided that whatever he was lugging across the continent wasn’t worth that much money and left it behind. When the abandoned bags were spotted it sparked a security alert and the check-in area was closed for two hours.
The passenger, blissfully unaware, flew to JFK only to find police waiting for him. He was questioned and released after police decided that he hadn’t intended on causing a panic.
It’s unclear how many bags this guy had or where he was going, but a look at Delta’s overweight fees show that he was probably carrying his prize antique brick collection to display at the London Brick Fair this summer. No, that doesn’t really exist.
A lot has changed since the Golden Age of Flying. Air travel in the 1950s came with roomy seats and a stylish flight crew, and without security hassles and add-on fees. But truth be told, it was a glamorous luxury few could afford: over the years, ticket prices have dropped approximately 40 percent, making it much more reasonable for an average Joe to take to the skies. In fact, approximately 38 million people flew in 1958 compared to 809 million 50 years later.
New York to Paris, France: $310 in 1955, $2,622 adjusted for inflation
New York to Rome, Italy: $360.20 in 1955, $3,046 adjusted for inflation
Pittsburgh to San Francisco: $96 in 1955, $812 adjusted for inflation
San Francisco to Chicago: $76 in 1955, $643 adjusted for inflation
Phoenix to Chicago: $69 in 1955, $584 adjusted for inflation
Sure, we have to deal with fewer amenities and less legroom than they did in the 1950s, but in the grand scheme of things we can get from point A to point B for a fraction of the cost. We might not get there comfortably, but at least we get to save our money for when we get there.
Once the lords of the back of in-flight magazines, loopy-lined flight route maps appear to be quietly disappearing on some major airlines’ websites. One possible explanation is the fact that many online airline shoppers have already done their homework by the time they arrive at the airline’s site to book a flight. But some travelers are clinging to the old way, saying flight maps are one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine direct routes and hub cities.
Meanwhile, flight routes are finding a new use online, not for planning your next connection, but in a really cool data visualization project by Contrailz. The developers collected plane tracking data from Planefinder.net and mapped the routes and altitudes followed by jets. Zoomed in, you can see the individual paths flown by planes approaching airports, while on a larger scale it’s an abstract, artistic look at the way we fly.
A swarm of bees kept US Airways Flight 2690 grounded at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport yesterday afternoon for over two hours. The plane, which was heading to Indianapolis, was unable to take off when the swarm surrounded the nose of the plane. Since some people on board were allergic to bees, the passengers were kept on the plane to avoid contact with the insects. A beekeeper was called in to dissolve the dilemma — an appropriate response to a situation like this since honeybees, which are becoming rapidly endangered, play an instrumental role in agriculture. But this isn’t the first time bees have affected air travel, nor will it be the last.Swarming bees are not, despite pop culture representation, aggressive. To the contrary, these bees are full of honey they stored up on for their trip and are relatively placid — they’re just looking for a new home. Swarms develop when a colony has become overpopulated. The old queen bee assembles a team of workers to follow her to a new location, which is determined and agreed upon by scout bees. The swarm typically travels only 20 minutes or so from its original location to the new hive. Every now and then, the location for the new hive is not ideal -– as in the case of swarms near airports or airplanes. A beekeeper is usually then brought in to help relocate the migrating bees.
Yesterday’s occurrence wasn’t the first time swarming bees affected air travel. Here are some other flights affected by bee interference: