Wednesday, February 24, 2010
China standard: travelling with a huge hand luggage
I’ve thought about this for quite a while: are there different rules regarding the size of hand luggage in China? After a countless number of flights where I have watched Chinese businessmen (always businessmen) step on the plane with bags the same size as my main, checked-in luggage, I cannot help but wonder.
The story is always the same. They get on the plane, dragging their giant back behind them (always dragging, never carrying –yet another sign that it is simply too big for being classified as a piece of hand luggage?), locate their seat, look at the overhead locker, realize that there is little or no space, and start yelling for the air stewardess. (Let me tell you one thing, if there is one working group in China that deserves an award for friendly patience, it is the group of Chinese air stewardess). Then they simply leave the bag with her and ease back at their seat. Try the same thing on a flight in Scandinavia, yeah, first of all the air stewardess would not put up with the screaming, second of all, she’d probably send you off the plane telling you you need to check in that large bag of yours.
Since we are on the subject of flying, however, I have to point out that the landing situation has become much better in China only during these (soon) 4 years that I’ve been here. When I first travelled on domestic flights in China I always watched people getting up and gathering their bags as soon as the plane hit the ground. Nowadays, most people actually stay seated until the seatbelt sign comes off. Great improvement. Again, however, when it comes to gathering your bag and getting off the plane: here comes the situation where the businessmen need to take their giant luggage from the overhead locker by themselves, as there is no tiny little air stewardess around to yell at. Funny that they always manage to hit someone (it’s been me, numerous times) with that huge bag, before eventually getting it down.