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Rant: air sickness

Andrew Dembina

 

I honestly cannot remember the last flight I took that was not delayed.

On both legs of my trip to Britain last summer, I sat for an hour on the plane before take-off. This May, we performed laps around Heathrow and Chek Lap Kok before landing, for 45 and 30 minutes, respectively.

Is too much air traffic in Asia creating a level of service that would not be tolerated in other industries? Well, a trip to the United States last September proved efficiency is askew there, too. A domestic delay of 2½ hours announced at a boarding gate in Dallas meant I had to sprint through various terminals at San Francisco to catch my flight back to Hong Kong.

Nearer to home again, on a trip to Sanya, Hainan province, an unexpected rescheduling came in handy as it gave me another hour to deal with counter staff who told me they had no record of my booking.

But these experiences all paled against my worst ever "double delay" bookending of a trip to Beijing last month. On the way out, a last-minute evacuation of a substitute aircraft followed the cancellation of a flight earlier in the day. We'd even had to queue for new boarding passes and my group were split into two planes. Half of us arrived at 1am, the rest at 5am. Original scheduled arrival time: 8.30pm. On our return, we faced a four-hour delay.

To compound all this, the local airline in question has no customer service phone number. I called its frequent flier number and they promised to call back. At time of writing I'm still waiting.

 

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