Monday 26 November, 2018; Nanjing Lukou International Airport closes, cancelling all flights due to extremely foggy weather, leaving thousands of people stranded.
“We regret to announce that **** flight has been cancelled due to weather infection”, went the announcements at the airport. One after the other, every flight scheduled to depart in the evening of 26 of November were cancelled.
The people who had already checked in were told to go back out to the check in counters and “wait”. The worse the “infection” got, the more flights dropped off the departure board one by one, flashing a red signal for absolute mayhem.
“Fei bu liao, kending bu liao!” (The plane can’t fly, it definitely can’t fly!), stressed-out airport staff were heard barking at the angry ticket-waving masses.
People began steadily filling up the check in hall at departures, some furiously accosting airline staff, others crying, while some simply stood stunned. The Nanjinger approximates 10,000 people were, in the blink of an eye, left stuck.
“I was on a flight to Beijing; they’ve said there’s nothing that can be done, I’m going to try and get the train”, a German traveller told The Nanjinger.
Others desperately tried rearranging flights, or hoped to jump on trains to Shanghai and Beijing. Flight booking company APPs such as Ctrip crashed; airport wifi overwhelmed.
“Our hotel is completely booked, we cannot admit anymore people. No rooms”, staff at the adjacent Pullman Hotel told The Nanjinger.
After 2 hours, Nanjing airport staff had returned all luggage to passengers and people began leaving the airport. Metro queues stretched 30 people deep, while people pushed, squealed and shoved their way onto metro line S1.
The chaos was a result of extremely foggy weather; some argued it was pollution while others insisted it is simply the weather.