March 4, 2017

Hong Kong Airlines and being pepper sprayed

I hadn’t been able to sleep the night before. It had been four years since I left Hong Kong, the beautiful city I had studied abroad in for a semester.

Quite frankly, it had been four years too long.

Sat on the airport express, I was pumped, ready to go and even in the mood for a celebratory selfie.

Fast forward two hours and I was sat on my backpack of Beijing airport’s floor still waiting for check in to open. Having become used to air travel in China, I was beginning to get a little concerned. Ten minutes changed into half an hour and then finally, thank god, the check in staff were sat behind their desks. Let’s go go go.

The words you don’t want to hear

But then I heard those words in Chinese that you don’t want to hear. “The plane isn’t flying.” Wonderful. And then of course there were multiple reasons as to why the plane wasn’t going. It was broken. The air was bad. And then finally, air traffic control regulations. Probably due to that bloody parade they’d been practicing for all weekend.

I was informed in Chinese (no one at Hong Kong airlines spoke English) that I would be taken to a hotel and to wait for a bus.

I accepted because my house is super far from the airport but predicted a one star hotel with bunk beds and a miserable roommate…..because China. We all piled out to the exit where we waited for the buses to take us to the hotel.

Unfortunately this was at the same time a Hong Kong airlines passenger, rather intoxicated and rather angry was facing off with airport security guards. There was lots of shouting and then airport security kicking the crap out of this guy and then the next minute I heard it…. a spray. No. It couldn’t be.

The moment it happened

The entire crowd began to wretch and cough. And then it hit me. Pepper spray. I felt like I was going to hurl my guts out. And dude, it stank.

My fellow passengers got out their tissues and put them over their mouths like we were in a stinky Chinese bathroom but it didn’t help. We all huddled by the side of the road looking like wannabe sorority girls at our first college party.

It took about five minutes for it to pass – I could still feel it at the back of my throat but it was going away. As for the poor drunken angry guy, he was still in the corner feeling the effects of the full blast. Tomorrow was not going to be his morning.

And then the bus came to take us to the hotel. The staff showed me to my room and I was pleasantly surprised. Actually I was it was a 5 star hotel and it was wonderful. I don’t think i’d slept so well in months.

When it came to the morning, I was called by Hong Kong airlines staff to let me know that the flight was going ahead as scheduled and then I went downstairs for my complimentary breakfast.

Flight delayed by 12 hours, caught up in security pepper spraying an angry passenger (pepper spray hurts man) finished by a stay in a 5 star hotel. Priceless. #beijing #旅行 #北京 #foodporn #china #travel #sophieshongkongreturn

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I eat everything. There was bacon, hash browns, mushrooms, fruit, waffles – everything i’ve ever dreamed of.

And before I knew it, it was time to fight my fellow passengers for a spot on one of the shuttle buses and board my flight to Hong Kong.

Have you ever had any interesting delay stories? Let me know! 

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