Flight delay, delay, delay….The glamour of air travel is gone.
In China was it ever thus?
Unquestionably one can consider Laozi (a.k.a ‘ Lao Tzu’), the ancient Chinese poet and philosopher who died in 531 BC, truly perceptive when he remarked:
“Yī wèi cōngmíng de lǚxíng zhě méiyǒu gùdìng de jì huà, érqiě bù yīdìng fēi yào dàodá mùdì de [一位聪明的旅行者没有固定的计画，而且不一定非要到达目的地]”, which roughly translates as
“A clever traveller has no fixed plans, and does not necessarily have to reach their purpose.”
For it seems this wise sage back in ‘BC’ times was privy to the staggering state of affairs that would by and large ensue by the end of 2015 when China will have built close to 220 fully operational airports (up from 175 airports in 2011) handling over 870 million passengers and serviced by 46 domestic airlines (exclusive of foreign airlines), with a fleet of just over 2,000 planes (to be expanded to 4,200 aircraft in 2020) vying for limited space overhead. Add to this mélange the fact that China doesn’t have enough airspace (the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) controls all airspace, only allocating 20% of airspace to civil aviation), and China’s inclement weather (for example, if there is a thunderstorm impinging on a flight route between two cities, the flight will likely be delayed since it can’t divert through controlled airspace), and it is no wonder flight delays snarl China’s clogged and struggling civil aviation transportation system.
With the People’s Liberation Army Air Force blaming chronic air traffic congestion and flight delays on poor airline management and scheduling performance, “having no fixed plans” at least for the day of passage, as in “cancel all other appointments”, is sage advice indeed. China’s airlines have the world’s worst record for flight delays.”
And so to some of the tell-tale signs that all is not well regarding timely aircraft departure from Chinese airports as experienced by myself over the past 12 months almost 100% of the time.
1. The informative announcement
2. Queuing to board the aircraft?
4. Food Service
5. In-flight Films
6. Angry Passengers
7. The Hard Landing
The joys of flying in China, soon to get worse. “A clever traveler has no fixed plans, and does not necessarily have to reach their purpose.”
Read the somewhat related blog ‘China – Under The Hood: “Bu Hao Yisi” – The animated joys of everyday living in China’ https://nialljoreilly.com/2008/12/20/bu-hao-yisi-mei-banfa-mei-wenti-and-chinese-language-expressions-and-everyday-living/