I woke up at 5:30 am on July 15th, said goodbye to the cats, took a taxi to the Shenzhen-Hong Kong border, slept in a mini-van on way to HK airport, ate some bananas and eggs, flew on time from HK to Chicago, got through US immigration and customs in less than 15 minutes, rechecked my bag, called mom on Skype, boarded a plane, slept, arrived in St. Louis 45 minutes later, disembarked and reboarded the same plane, slept, landed in Denver, was outside in the passenger pickup area within 25 minutes, hugged my mom and sister at 6:25 pm on July 15th.
This is what didn't happen:
The nightmarish odyssey, tinged with confusion, chaos and flight cancellations, began with a mechanical problem and got worse when strict federal regulations forced the flight’s cancellation. In all, the flight would be canceled three times before passengers finally got into the air.
Several travelers formed a blockade in front of the airline gate, he said, preventing anyone from getting on the plane.
"The people from both flights began arguing with one another," Jin said. "Police got involved; they knocked one man to the ground. Then the captain climbed on a chair and tried to explain things to people. They wouldn’t listen. Nobody trusted him."
A video taken at the gate shows a pilot pleading with angry passengers to go to another location, where he said a plane was waiting for them.
"That is the only way we’re going to get out of here. … My crew, the other crew, we want to go as much as you do," the pilot said. "I can tell you the alternative is, if we don’t have cooperation boarding here, these planes may leave empty."
Why doesn't anything exciting like this happen when I travel? I've seen Chinese travelers arguing with gate staff, but that's normal.