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03 November 2009

Beijing Adventure – Part 1

By Karen

The time was 11.20pm. Realizing that I have not eaten the whole day had my stomach grumbled frantically. Thank God for Old Town cafe at LCCT. The curry mee has never taste so good.

It was a beautiful night, and our flight to Tianjin was scheduled at 1am. It was good to see some familiar faces on this trip. With 29 of us it kind of feel like going on a field trip. Everyone was happy because we were going to Beijing to celebrate our winning for CAPA’s Airline of the year award. 3 years in a roll. Now, that’s pretty awesome.

For me, it’s the thought of gracing the soil of China that had me all excited. There’s something about China that intrigues me – something that I can’t quite put my fingers on. Albeit being a Malaysian Chinese and able to read, write and speak the language, I often don’t consider myself ‘Chinese’ enough. First of all, I’ve often been mistaken for a Malay, Thai and sometimes Japanese and Korean (God knows why!) Second of all, I guess I tend to see the world and human beings as One; beyond race and skin color. But the diverse culture and the way of life have never failed to intrigue me. And so is China, the land of the dragons.

The flight to Tianjin was pleasant and I managed to sleep for a few hours. Though seated at the economy seat I must say the A340 was really comfortable (with plenty of leg room!) for long haul flight. I wouldn’t even mind taking a 12 hour flight to London in economy that’s for sure :)

The break of dawn and the sight of the orange color horizon at 30,000 feet were breathtakingly beautiful. I could feel the excitement bursting in my veins knowing that we would be landing shortly at Tianjin Binhai International Airport.

However, as fate would have it, there was a runway difficulty which resulted in inability for the aircraft to land. After hovering on air for about 30 minutes, we detoured to Beijing Capital International Airport for refuel. Unfortunately we are unable to disembark at the Airport. From locating a free parking bay and the refueling took about one and half hour before we took off to Tianjin Binhai International Airport again.

Confusion and frustration was felt by some of the Chinese passengers but the cabin crew did a good job in controlling and explaining the situation at hand. A sense of relief was felt when we took off to Tianjin Binhai International Airport- knowing that we would be able to land and disembark soon.

I guess the most anticipated announcement from the Captain at that moment (for me at least) was indeed ‘Cabin crew, please be seated for landing.’ But luck wasn’t at our side. When we were about to land at Tianjin Binhai International Airport, the Captain took an emergency take off and aborted landing – due to zero visibility caused by the heavy fog.

Anxiety filled the aircraft and when we aborted landing for the 2nd time and I found myself consoling the Welsh couple seated beside me. Funny how at that time I wasn’t worried at all; probably because I knew we were in the good hands of Captain Hans and Captain Ling – Who did a fantastic job in updating the passengers on the flight situation.

Finally, we managed to land at the 3rd attempt and had everyone clapped for joy! So in all, we arrived in Tianjin at 1pm instead of 7am. We were 6 hours late but I am sure relief took precedent than any other possible negative feelings.

As the saying goes ‘Better be safe than sorry’. Kudos to Captain Hans, Captain Ling and the rest of the cabin crew for getting us land safely.

  • Shi Hong

    So, the plane landed in Beijing Capital International Airport for refuel?

    Some passengers, their goal is to go to Beijing instead of Tianjin. AirAsia should let those, whose destination is Beijing, disembark at the Beijing Capital International Airport, while other passengers stay on board. This will make the passengers save the cost of transportation from Tianjin to Beijing.