China: Flight delays result in rampage at airport

3 China Southern Airline flights were delayed because of bad weather conditions and the closure of one of the local destinations due to runway repairs. Result: 170 passengers were left at the airport in Kunming (southwest China) and landed up breaking desks and smashing computers in a state of outrage and frustration.

Beyond these facts, the story is a little blurry.

The airline denies they mistreated their passengers, they state that there were enough staff at the airport looking after them, and that 100 of their customers stayed in the hotel they were offered. Also, they have agreed to compensate each passenger with 100 Yuan (approx. $14). However, other media reports say that most passengers went to look for hotels with vacancies for the night without much luck, and they landed up sleeping on the aircraft or in the departure hall; no food was offered and not enough airline staff were around to fix the situation.

The situation was delicate and naturally volatile, but at the same time not an unfamiliar one. As for what happened at the airport, it’s the airline’s word against the passenger’s — two completely different perspectives — so what actually happened will only be clear to those who were there. It’s amazing how personal perceptions of a situation can be so relative, depending which side you are on.

Anyway, I think what’s important is that after 17 hours of waiting, all passengers were put on other flights to their respective destinations, as well as compensated (although miserably). However, many passengers still want a public apology printed in the newspaper. Sigh. What does it take for people to just let things go once they are fixed!