China, Transportation, Travel

Trying to Leave on a Jetplane

My first domestic flight in China was Beijing to Zhuhai on September 5, 2011. Though it was only 7 in the morning Beijing was uncomfortably hot. Navigating the completely unfamiliar layout of the airport, I found my way downstairs to my “gate,” which looked much like Greyhound Station. I confusedly boarded a shuttle that then took me out to my tiny commuter plane. Conscious of my gigantic backpack (never again!) I made it to my row only to find my seat already occupied. When I finally squeezed into my tiny seat, embarrassed and exhausted, all I wanted was for the trip to be over. Just a few hours and I’d be that much closer. Everyone was on board. The cabin doors were closed. Yet we weren’t going anywhere. I dozed uncomfortably, finding myself jerking awake every few minutes looking around for some indication that we were moving. After maybe 30 minutes, we finally slowly made our way down the runway and took off. I was just grateful to be moving.

Flight delays. They happen. Unfortunately in China they seem to be the norm. Every flight I’ve had in China to date has left late. A grand total of 4 flight, but I still feel that’s significant. Or maybe I just have bad luck.

So really, we shouldn’t rush to get to our gate. It’s not leaving on time anyways. Our desperate dash to make our Hainan flight? Yep. The plane left late.

On top of the late takeoffs, we’ve also had our flights rescheduled several times. Twice on our flight to Hainan and once on the way to Shanghai.

So this morning, as we went to the departures hall to fly back to Zhuhai, there was a gigantic banner that said “Relax!” in English and Chinese, hanging floor to ceiling as we rode the escalator. I laughed. Yes, seriously. Just relax.

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