Is Opening Aircraft Doors a New Chinese Custom?

It was only a few weeks ago that a Chinese national, aboard a Xiamen Airlines flight, had the brilliant idea to open one of the emergency exit doors to get some fresh air. Now comes another report of passengers opening doors on a China Eastern flight. This was how they chose to protest a lengthy snow and de-icing delay.China Eastern

Indeed, there have been enough incidents involving the Chinese and airlines (CNN relays the long list here) that last year the government issued a traveling etiquette document trying to turn their citizens into civilized tourists. Apparently some didn’t get the memo because problems like this appear to be on the rise.

In addition to the infrequent air travel of most Chinese citizens, no doubt adding to the problem is the matter of lengthy delays at many airports around the country.

Here’s a travel tip if you are flying on one of the many Chinese airlines: Don’t sit near an exit row unless you really really like lots of fresh air.


  1. dont have to be diplomatic or politically correct here, the chinese travelers are known to behave differently than most of the rest. there are more antics amongst themselves that a westerner simply cannot imagine or comprehend. i am a native born chinese who has lived in usa for half of my adult life so to this matter i can ascertain.

  2. A quick story from own experience on a China Southern flight from Sanya to Guangzhou: After all the passengers were boarded an announcement was made regarding a delay in departure. I don’t speak Chinese so wasn’t able to understand the reason. As the delay approached an hour, a passenger from coach got up, walked to the first class cabin and proceeded to verbally berate one of the flight attendants. He was literally yelling loud enough to be heard halfway back into coach – which I think was his intention. The flight attendant, almost reduced to tears, did manage to counter his anger by yelling back at him. The argument continued for about five minutes. When the passenger felt vindicated he returned to his seat. I was shocked. In the US he would have been removed from the plane and faced federal charges almost as soon as he stood up but in this case there was no punishment at all. It seemed acceptable. In fact, while the argument continued most passengers read their magazines or watched the inflight video trying to ignore the heated exchange while a few listened with interest as if it was some form of amusement.

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