Passengers at Shanghai’s Pudong Airport became so frustrated with a flight delay that they stormed a taxiway and halted a plane.
In the US I assume this would be a violation of one or more federal statutes and you would be looking at significant fines if not jail time and a select spot on the no fly list. China does not appear to have any “federal” statutes governing passenger aviation.
But in China you get compensation. Yes, the folks who rushed the tarmac and halted a moving airplane received 1000 RMB in compensation each for the efforts. Talk about setting a bad precedent.
Flight delays are common in China, so expect to see similar incidents at other airports here. When dealing with a frustrating delay this kind of protest is not only viscerally pleasing but now lucrative as well.
It is also a reminder that Chinese do care about standing up for their rights, at least when they think there is limited downside.
UPDATE: The Shanghai police have a more sensible view of the incident and are apparently going to punish the tarmac protesters:
SHANGHAI police said yesterday that they have handed down administrative punishment to the 20 angry passengers who took their protest onto a taxiway at Pudong International Airport to demand compensation for their delayed flight on Wednesday.
Though the passengers didn’t intend to stop any planes on the taxiway, their behavior have violated the security regulation of China’s civil aviation, city police said last night.
The civil aviation administration has also started an investigation into the incident. The watchdog expects to give domestic airlines some guidelines on handling compensation issues for flight delays.
Officials from the East China Civial Aviation Administration said the passengers resposible for the airport break-in should be seriously punished as such behavior poses big risks to flight safety. END UPDATE