As China’s private airlines gain in the stock market, there has been a rise in ‘air rage’ by travelers who experience delayed flights, from the Telegraph:
One reaction to a hold-up at Shanghai’s main international airport this year caused a further 16-hour delay in itself, when 20 angry passengers invaded the runway and came within 200 metres of an oncoming plane from the United Arab Emirates.
In October, a mob of passengers held an Australian pilot hostage for six hours when their flight was diverted from Beijing to Shanghai because of bad weather.
They surrounded a Jetstar crew in a section of the arrivals area and refused to let them leave, fearing they would be left to find their own way home from Shanghai, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The common complaint is that the airlines often leave delayed passengers in the dark about the situation.
The cause of these protests partly lies with the Chinese carriers themselves. It is not uncommon for passengers to have to wait for hours inside a plane or at the boarding gate without any information about how long the delay might last.
“In the past, only ‘first class’ people had the privilege to travel by plane so the average Chinese has very high expectations for services,” said Li Yuliang, an independent civil aviation commentator who is also the chief trainer for China Eastern Airline’s (600115.SS)(0670.HK) Shandong office.
“The airspace is too small. It’s like an eight-lane highway with just two lanes open,” said Jeff Zhang, a pilot at one of the top three Chinese carries.
In addition, the lack of up-to-date equipment at airports, such as those used to navigate pilots in bad weather, relatively stricter safety standards and the scarcity of trained air controllers are also adding to flight delays, they say.