What’s Making Chinese Travelers So Angry?

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.
Chinese Airlines Train Crew in Kung Fu to Defend From Irate Passengers

Man’s Response To $1,400 Overweight Baggage Fee Prompts Police Action

overweight fees
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nathan Lockwood (This isn’t the luggage in question, but you get the idea)

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.

Worried about getting slapped with extra fees? Check out our guide to packing your luggage efficiently. Or you can simply wear 70 items of clothing to avoid overweight baggage fees.

Is The Internet Changing Flight Route Maps?

Contrailz
by n.guryanov. via Visually.

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.

Some airlines, such as JetBlue and Alaska Airlines, maintain the maps as an interactive feature to enable online booking. Others, like KLM or US Airways have buried the maps a few clicks in or done away with them completely, offering instead a destination guide of all the cities served.

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.

Contrailz map by n.guryanov. via Visually.

Why Do Bees Swarm Airports?


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:

25,000 Bees Found Dead In Oregon

Ryanair’s Latest Stunt: Planes As Billboards

Courtesy Ryanair

Low-cost carrier Ryanair will charge for just about anything. The company has even announced it’ll be selling ad space on the outsides of its planes. From pay-per pee toilets to the promise of oral sex, this is far from the first ridiculous stunt Ryanair has pulled over the years. It makes us a little skeptical these billboards will get off the ground.

Let’s take a look at the company’s — and, perhaps more importantly, CEO Michael O’Leary’s — track record over the years:

2013: Ryainair sells ad space on planes
2012: Ryanair plans to increase plane door width to speed up boarding
2011: Ryanair teaches ‘mutiny’ students how to pack
2011: Ryanair jokes about “child-free” flights
2010: CEO questions need for co-pilots on flights
2009: Ryanair talks about introducing standing-room only seats
2009: Ryanair begins media storm about pay-per pee toilets
2008: CEO says business class passengers get free oral sex

That’s at least one PR stunt per year, leading us to believe the “planes as billboards” idea won’t take off. Besides, it’s a little doubtful that anyone would fork over more than $26,000 for a tiny ad that only people waiting in departure lounges can actually see (if they’re close enough, that is).