China considers air rage 'no fly list'

Will Ripley, CNNPublished 19th January 2015
Up next
Beijing (CNN) — Passengers who misbehave on commercial flights in China could soon find themselves grounded.
After several highly publicized and embarrassing incidents of air rage, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said last week it is considering steps to blacklist offending passengers, according to state media.
No final decision has been made on the proposed "no fly list" but it could lead to legal punishments.
From hurling hot water at a flight attendant to fights over crying babies, outbursts by Chinese passengers have disrupted several flights in recent weeks -- both in China and further afield.
In one of the most recent episodes, a flight departing a city in southwestern China was canceled after irate passengers opened three emergency exits following a seven-hour delay.
James Fallows, aviation expert, journalist, and author of "China Airborne", says the flurry of angry episodes reveals growing pains in China's airline industry.
Many newly prosperous travelers have never experienced the kind of travel headaches long familiar to the rest of us, he adds.
"It's a nation of first-generation air travelers," Fallows said.
"All of the indoctrination and beating down the rest of us have had now for decades about how you have to behave in airports and airliners is coming as a new experience to a lot of people in China."
Chronic delays
Chinese travelers also have to grapple with chronic delays in the country's busiest air hubs.
Fallows blames much of the misery on the Chinese military, which controls the vast majority of the country's increasingly crowded airspace.
Aviation authorities have opened new commercial flight routes in recent years in an effort to improve China's abysmal on-time performance record and the government has approved a second international airport in Beijing to ease the congestion -- but these steps will take time to take effect.
Fallows says Chinese culture also plays a role in the behavior of certain Chinese air travelers.
"It's perhaps the most individualistic country I've ever been in. It's every person for himself or herself," he says.
"We're seeing a lesson about how the people in China feel they have to behave."