China has had a crazy economical development in the last 15 years and aviation there has struggled to keep pace. Air travel in China is plagued by delays and non-existent customer service.
CNN highlights the story of a delayed China Eastern flight that was scheduled to leave at 8PM and eventually made it out at 3AM with lots of confusing announcements:
Half of the plane — the original passengers booked onto the airline's 8 p.m. flight — seemed to have long fallen asleep during their agonizing wait, while the other half — those of us re-booked from a canceled 7 p.m. flight and moved onto this one — were too exhausted to make a sound.
The arrival of a second busload of drenched passengers was followed by a lengthy, silent wait on board — with no updates from the cockpit.
It was almost 3 a.m. when the pilot announced our impending departure thanks to improving weather.
Our plane finally roared into the starless skies at 3:08 a.m. — more than eight hours after the scheduled departure time printed on my air ticket.
It's a good read if you plan on traveling through China.
Award tickets are especially risky when using Air China. There are a number of threads with them refusing to transport passengers in Business Class after a missed connection at Beijing Airport (usually Air China's fault):
I had that problem with an Aeroplan award that left me stranded in Osaka for 2 days thanks to weather and Air China.
Also, there are a number of mysterious cancellations of Air China award tickets (with United Mileage Plus).
China is an interesting place to visit – just don't expect customer service, good food or easy air travel 🙂