Chinese tourists clash with Japanese police while stranded at Tokyo airport
The 175 tourists were stuck at the airport for more than 24 hours because of Shanghai’s snowy weather
Because of bad weather in Shanghai, 175 Chinese tourists were recently stranded at an airport in Tokyo for more than 24 hours, resulting in the travelers clashing with airline staff and police.
The tourists’ Jetstar Japan flight from Toyko’s Narita International Airport to Shanghai was scheduled to board at 9:45 pm on Wednesday night. However, because of Shanghai’s recent snowmageddon, the flight was delayed a full 24 hours — that being the next time the low-cost Japanese carrier was flying to Shanghai, according to overseas media reports.
The Chinese travelers claim that while the airline took care of the five Japanese travelers who were to be on their on flight, they were left to figure things out on their own. The travelers say that Jetstar Japan refused to provide them with access to Chinese-speaking staff, told them to collect their own baggage and settle their own accommodation issues. The airline’s staff are also accused of having a “very poor attitude,” repeatedly telling the Chinese tourists to “get out” in English.
On Thursday morning, the situation finally boiled over after one Chinese tourist was reportedly stopped from going to a vending machine on the second floor of the departure hall, leading to an exchange of words between the stranded Chinese tourists and airline staff, which escalated into a physical confrontation.
Local police then arrived and tried to take one of the tourists away. Footage from the scene shows officers and travelers exchanging pulls and shoves while some of the tourists begin singing the Chinese national anthem in the background.
After hearing about the situation, the Chinese embassy stepped in to help settle the conflict and make arrangements for the Chinese tourists. While some travelers agreed to be provided with accommodations, around 100 tourists insisted on waiting at the gate, though the airport was scheduled to close at 11:00 pm.
The embassy also negotiated with Japan Jetstar, ending with the budget airline agreeing to treat the stranded passengers properly, pay for their meals, and arrange a flight out.
Early on Friday morning, the tourists touched down in Shanghai, minus the traveler who was detained by police. The embassy has asked that police handle the case in a “fair and just manner” and protect the “legitimate rights and interests of all parties concerned.”
Of course, this is far from the first time that Chinese travelers have raised a ruckus over long flight delays. Last winter, heavy snow left around 100 Chinese tourists trapped at the Hokkaido airport, resulting in similar skirmishes with local police.
“It was absolutely crazy that the situation flared up so quickly,” said one traveler who witnessed that incident. “The group started chanting and made things very tense and wrapped the atmosphere up into almost a riot situation.”
The year before that, a group of impatient Chinese tourists decided to vent their anger at a flight delay at a Bangkok airport by breaking out into the Chinese national anthem — screaming in unison to the tune of “March of the Volunteers.”