Chinese Security Begets Shanghai Hospitality.

Last month, in advance of the Olympics, the Chinese civil aviation authorities implemented many of the same (sometimes silly) post-9/11 airport security restrictions that have plagued US travelers for nearly six years. Among these is a ban on cigarette lighters enforced at the security check. US fliers will be familiar with the routine: arrive at…

Shanghai Pudong: Same as it ever was!

I was out of China when, two weeks ago, the Shanghai Airport Authority announced that it was immediately implementing new, Olympics-related security procedures at the city’s two airports. Nothing in the reported accounts of these procedures indicated that they were directed at incoming passengers. But, keeping in mind that these regulations come in the wake…

The Agent in Economy

Last night, twenty minutes before Thai Airways Flight 664 from Bangkok to Shanghai Pudong was scheduled to land, a pleasant female voice came over the intercom to remind passengers that: “It is illegal to take photos over China, or in Chinese airports.” This was the first international flight that I’ve taken into China since mid-March,…

What’s a disgruntled Chinese airline pilot supposed to do?

On March 31 and April 1, eighteen (some reports say seventeen) China Eastern flights departed Kunming with passengers, baggage, and cargo, flew around in circles, and then landed … in Kunming, leaving the passengers stranded and furious. [UPDATE 4/8: Xinhua now reports that twenty-one flights were turned around.] Now, what on earth could drive a…

Terminal (3) Operations.

Chalk it up to my declining powers of perception, but yesterday I somehow managed to fly through Beijing Capitol Airport’s massive new terminal 3 building (986,000 square meters!) without knowing – or noticing – that it was the super-structure’s first fully operational day (h/t to Micah for pointing it out). In my defense: the terminal…

Just in time for flu season … No more quarantine forms!

According to Xinhua: Beginning next month, international passengers will no longer need to fill out a quarantine form upon entering China. If you’ve been an international arrival at any of China’s airports over the last four years, you know the routine: it’s the little white photocopied sheet (in Shanghai, at least) requiring that you disclose…