Passengers who were flying out of Beijing on Saturday arrived at the airport to face a frustrating scenario: most of the flights either faced long delays or were canceled. Passengers were told various stories about the cancellations and delays, but it appears to be largely due to the political summit in China.
Depending on who you asked Saturday, flights out of Beijing International Airport were either delayed or canceled due to air traffic control measures, thunderstorms, or a political summit. After an event called the Belt and Road Forum, many of the political leaders in China were supposed to leave Beijing—creating the cause of the delays and cancellations.
Passengers were largely unaware of the reasons behind the flight problems. Each airline appeared to give a different explanation. Flights to Hong Kong and Macau were severely delayed, and flights to Guangdong province were canceled altogether. Some flights to Sichuan province were also delayed.
One student, Si Ka-heng, who faced a delayed flight, told the South China Morning Post that she was told in advance about potential delays.
“The airline actually told us a month ago it could be delayed [because of air traffic restrictions],” she said.
Si was flying to Macau—and although Macau Airlines had warned her ahead of time, counter staff for the airline claimed the delay was because of rain in southern China.
A number of passengers ended up having to stay an extra night in Beijing, especially if they had evening flights, which didn’t sit well with some travelers.
“We were told there was no other option,” Punhal Khan Lashari told the South China Morning Post. “It is not handled well.”
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