These days flying has become a treacherous affair, especially if you’re unfortunate enough to be in coach class. U.S. airline delays were at an almost all-time high in 2007, and as the New York Times pointed out last November, if you’re flying coach, the airlines just don’t care about you. Other countries have the same problems, but some are actually doing something about it.
Enter China, whose government seems to be willing to do just about anything to make sure its people and its country is ready for their historic Olympiad this summer. And falling in line with that China’s General Administration of Civil Aviation delivered a clear, simple, and stern warning to the airlines of the world: be on time.
China has vowed tough punishments on airlines to ensure that chronically late aircraft run smoothly for the 2008 Olympic Games, state media reported.Now you’d think with a declaration like this China’s airport system would be a smooth, efficient machine. But it’s quite the opposite. Despite being the ninth busiest airport in the world, Beijing’s airport ranked 62nd in a 2006 international passenger satisfaction level survey. And while Americans just sit around and complain about our situation, the Chinese take action!
Airlines that fail punctuality standards from July through September at Beijing and other major cities would have their offending flight routes suspended for that quarter, the official Xinhua news agency said late on Thursday.
Passengers using China's rapidly expanding airways can face long delays, abrupt cancellations and surly, overwhelmed staff. Seething passengers have sometimes fought back by refusing to leave aircraft until compensation is paid for late flights, storming runways, and breaking down doors when herded into lounges after unannounced diversions to remote airports.Ah, yes. You try the compensation route next time your flight is late. I’d love to hear what happens. So anyhow, the message is clear. Chinese citizens must behave. Athletes must compete. Children must continue doing child labor, and airports must be on time.