We won’t get off

I doubt you will read about this happening in the United States.

BEIJING (Reuters) – Fifty-two passengers on a Chinese airliner whose flight was cancelled due to bad weather refused to disembark and instead spent the night onboard before finally leaving to their destination, local media said on Friday. The passengers boarded for their 8 p.m. (1:00 a.m. EDT) flight from Beijing to the eastern coastal city of Yantai, but after more than three hours of sitting on the tarmac, the airline cancelled the flight, the Beijing Morning Post said.

“Most of the about 200 passengers disembarked to complete flight transfer procedures, but a Mrs. Shi was one of 52 passengers who refused to get off,” the newspaper said.

“Mrs. Shi said that she and her colleagues had to get to Yantai for a meeting, they were on a very tight schedule, and could not accept the cancellation of the flight.”

At 3 a.m. the airline finally told them they could take a 7.30 a.m. flight to Yantai.

“The passengers said that in the 12 hours or so they spent on the aircraft, the crew provided continuous service, and all along offered food and drink,” the report said. Chinese media frequently report stories of badly behaved passengers refusing to get off delayed aircraft or running amok at airports following delays, but also criticise airlines for not giving enough information to passengers about delays.

The crew stayed around to give them service. Just incredible, if it’s true.

Some 20 years ago I was flying from Florida to the Philippines with connections in Dallas and Los Angeles. My plane left the gate in Dallas around 5 p.m. We didn’t take all till around 8:30. The presence of thunderstorms in the area, preventing my flight(and others) from taking off.

This was in the days when passengers could smoke on board. When we finally took off, passengers cheered. I don’t remember anyone getting angry about the delay. If they did, it was kept to themselves.

Today if a airline keeps passengers confined to a plane for 3.5 hours or no matter what the reason, it is likely to be on the evening news. The lawsuits to follow soon afterwards. Have times changed that much?

Running Numbers: A Correction
What will they do after Bush?