Thursday, September 8, 2011

Safety first

When you fly domestically in Australia, you feel pretty safe. Airlines like Jetstar and Virgin have relatively clean and new planes and their security measures give you confidence that they take their job seriously. On the plane itself, the hosties give a comprehensive safety briefing that outlines all the precautionary measures and safety equipment that they have in case of emergency. On a domestic flight on China, things are a little different.

On our way to the Tour of China, we had to catch a 2hr flight on a domestic Chinese airline. After making our way through an epic security check and full body pad down, we headed towards the gate. Coming down the escalators, I expected to see the usual line of airplanes and walkways. Instead, there was a massive line of buses. I was confused. Weren't we supposed to catch a plane?

We took our carry on luggage and crammed onto the bus which had no seats and was standing room only. With very little to hang on to, it was lucky that we were packed in so tight as people lost their balance. The bus drove for about ten minutes out on the runway and had to give way to the odd jumbo jet that was taking off.

When we reached the plane, we piled out onto the runway and lined up on the stairs to enter the plane. Once on the plane, we watched a cartoon safety video and I didn't understand a single word. Funnily, they did not mention life jackets in the event of an emergency. When I looked at the seat in front of me, I understood why.

Thankfully, I never had to use the seat cushion as a flotation device and we landed safely before cramming into another bus to drive us off the runway.

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