PEK-BKK Technical Delay: Drinks Please!


When I am served a glass of champagne and some fresh OJ, my programmed response is that it must be time to take off. Down the glass in style, tilt the seat back against policy, then wait for that noise of the engine revving.

Check, check, check, Beijing we have…

We have nothing. We are stuck. The announcement is: “Sorry we have technical problems.”

Two things come to mind:

1. Glad we weren’t airborne.

2. Can I have more champagne?

The passenger in front of me was more perturbed by the delay so when I flagged the flight attendant to my seat she was justifiably uneasy. With a warm smile I turned to her and asked, “Can I have more champagne?”

For a second she was confused. Then she realized I wasn’t going to admonish her for something out of her control. After a sigh of relief and a gentle laugh, she brought me more bubbly.

I’m not worried that we are delayed because the arrival in Bangkok was scheduled for midnight so it isn’t like I’m going to miss the Monday night party. Furthermore, how’s being short with the flight attendant going to make the plane take off sooner?

And just as I’m writing this the flight attendant brought a bootleg iPad with some movies for me to watch.

I have to say I never had thoughts one way or another about Air China besides a vehicle getting me from point A to point B, but this business class seat and the service has made me hopeful, if we ever get off the ground.

Or if they don’t run out of champagne.




  1. Way to take it all in stride. Air travel would be so much more pleasant if everybody did.

    I remember being delayed on an SWA flight with a parts problem. We could stay on the plane or wait in the airport. About 6 of us stayed on the plane and as soon as the hatch closed out came the free drinks. An hour or so later the ticked off masses returned and busted up our party.

  2. There is a big difference between sitting in business class sipping champagne and back squeezed in Economy class. I would not want to sit in those Economy seats for significantly longer than I had planned. Even the best airline isn’t going to offer free champagne for everyone in the Economy class during an extended delay.

    • Especially in the cold knowing you’re going to miss your connection to the warm vacation spot because you foolishly decided to connect through Chicago.

  3. Same, I remember sitting on the tarmac in a heatwave when the aux power unit in the plane was broken, so the a/c only worked when the engines were on (they were not). Also, i had to run to the plane because I didn’t realize it was in a different terminal than the lounge.

    And then there was a weather delay causing us to divert to another airport. That is when the chubby asian fellow seated next to me started pounding his fists on his tray table and muttering obscenities. Needless to say, the pilot felt the tray shaking and immediately got clearance for take-off and cut in front of the other planes. The end.

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