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Mutiny On Board

Passengers sleep on plane after flight cancelled

Jun 30, 2008

BEIJING - Fifty-two passengers on a Chinese airliner whose flight was cancelled due to bad weather refused to disembark and instead spent the night onboard before finally leaving to their destination, local media said on Friday.

The passengers boarded for their 8 p.m. (1:00 a.m. EDT) flight from Beijing to the eastern coastal city of Yantai, but after more than three hours of sitting on the tarmac, the airline cancelled the flight, the Beijing Morning Post said.

"Most of the about 200 passengers disembarked to complete flight transfer procedures, but a Mrs. Shi was one of 52 passengers who refused to get off," the newspaper said.

"Mrs. Shi said that she and her colleagues had to get to Yantai for a meeting, they were on a very tight schedule, and could not accept the cancellation of the flight."

At 3 a.m. the airline finally told them they could take a 7.30 a.m. flight to Yantai.

"The passengers said that in the 12 hours or so they spent on the aircraft, the crew provided continuous service, and all along offered food and drink," the report said. Chinese media frequently report stories of badly behaved passengers refusing to get off delayed aircraft or running amok at airports following delays, but also criticise airlines for not giving enough information to passengers about delays.

The government and airlines have spent billions of dollars upgrading airports and buying new aircraft, but service standards have struggled to keep up.

Beijing is especially worried about poor service at airports and on airlines as it gears up to host this summer's Olympics.

Passengers sleep on plane after flight cancelled

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