Last weekend, as I wrote about, I was in Dalian to work with China-Axlr8r’s 2013 crop of companies. That was super fun and I will write up some notes about that later, but first, I must share my experience of trying to get back to Shanghai. Below is a collection of my social media updates (edited for typos) which I shared across twitter, Facebook and China’s favorite new platform, WeChat.
Diverted to Nanjing due to storm in Shanghai. Most on the flight expect to be let off but we are only one of 7 planes I can see similarly marooned on the Tarmac, far away from the terminal. Alpha males and grouchy women are jockeying for turns to chew out whoever is between them and the door. Nicotine fits everywhere. (WeChat, 3:45pm)
I was trying to be artsy and glib… I had no idea what was in store for me…
I guess there is a big storm in shanghai? That or my pilot is a wuss. We are rerouted to nanjing to “wait it out”. — Mark Englehart Evans (@mark_e_evans) August 25, 2013
looks like we’re not the only ones diverted — there’s a lufthansa plane next to us and I’m pretty sure they don’t fly to Nanjing… — Mark Englehart Evans (@mark_e_evans) August 25, 2013
it’s a good thing I speak a modicum of Chinese. the english announcements on this plane definitely leave out most of the vital info…. — Mark Englehart Evans (@mark_e_evans) August 25, 2013
They just made us pack the seats at the front of the plane [ed. not business class]. Went from a row to myself when we left Dalian to a middle seat. We are still not moving. The hilarity and frustration about the whole thing will likely last just as long as my phone battery, but I also must say that there are tons of kids on this flight and they are all being great. No criers yet (fingers crossed) (WeChat, 5pm)
After 30 people bitched their way off the plane, apparently the most important thing is getting those quitters’ checked luggage off the flight. Three hours and counting [ed. more like 2 and a bit] (WeChat, 5:31pm)
This is when I started to go a bit crazy. This is a small plane, and we’re crowded to the front. I start realizing that we’re probably running out of water and food. I wasn’t the only one
Tempers have started to boil over. Scream at anyone available, right? 3.5 hrs and counting…— Mark Englehart Evans (@mark_e_evans) August 25, 2013 (image originally posted to Twitter)
At this point there were only FIVE well behaved people on the plane. Four children under the age of 5, and me. Everyone else was queueing up to scream at the poor stewardess, who couldn’t have been more than 23, and definitely didn’t know anything we didn’t know.
Now they are making everyone claim their checked luggage. they say we are overweight but we got here in the first place & have 40% fewer ppl — Mark Englehart Evans (@mark_e_evans) August 25, 2013
So at this point we could see the sun setting as the other marooned flights backed away and queued for takeoff. Little did we know, we still had a few hours to go.
Still here. Plenty more yelling. Poor stewardess is holding back tears. No one is saying anything about if we will ever leave. Gaaah (wechat: 7:01pm)
By this point, the plane was OUT OF WATER. One person had clearly saved a snack for starvation time, however. Also, I’m clearly a bit loopy:
The doors appear to be close and now the cabin smells like fish. If I don’t make it to pudong tonight I blame the fish — Mark Englehart Evans (@mark_e_evans) August 25, 2013
OH, and I forgot to mention:
I just got off the phone with China Southern. THEY DON’T HAVE A COMPLAINTS LINE IN CHINESE OR ENGLISH (WeChat: 7:15pm)
And then, a brief signal of salvation.
We might actually be queueing up for takeoff now. If not in PVG by midnight, avenge my honor (WeChat: 8:04pm)
I got home eventually, but didn’t have the personal or phone battery life left to share my accomplishment. The next morning, I counted up the wounded:
for those who followed my crazy Dalian to shanghai flight yesterday, we got to PVG at 9pm, home by 11. 12.5 hrs door to door.
— Mark Englehart Evans (@mark_e_evans) August 26, 2013