Fun fact: three of the stories we’ve posted in the past two days have been from Shenzhen. It’s where Alicia and I happened to be this weekend (for Ultimate Frisbee), and on Sunday we attempted to fly back.
Attempted and succeeded — but barely. A separate Shenzhen-to-Beijing airline ended up being delayed until 2 am, while our flight was only set back two hours, to 11 pm. (To the best of my knowledge, it wasn’t because of bomb threats.)
We were all more fortunate than the people in this video, however, who were delayed for so long that they began storming the doors of other deparature gates and blocking them. If we can’t leave, neither can you.
Needless to say, passengers already lined up at those gates — who saw the doors slammed shut by airport personnel to prevent rabid travelers from running onto the tarmac — were not happy. At the front of the line, a middle-aged man tried to physically remove one of the women blocking the way, beseeching, “Don’t take it out on us!” She sealed her lips and wouldn’t budge — and was apparently quite strong. Another woman carried in her arms a very young, surprisingly quiet child, the sight of which was enough to make me momentarily forget my own swelling annoyance.
Of course, when you’re travel weary and spiritually drained from dealing with airport attendants — who, it should be noted, have one hell of a tough job — it’s difficult to spare sympathy. Empathy, actually, since we’re all in the same boat — until, all of a sudden, we’re not, because our flight is set to depart and you’re blocking the way.
Eventually the women conceded, perhaps realizing there was nothing to be gained from holding up everyone else. “Where are the cops?” I wondered out loud.
“Why would there be cops in a Chinese airport?” Alicia retorted.
On the bright side, unlike our friend Matt Sheehan, at least we didn’t have to deal with China Eastern’s lying signboard.