Friday, October 26, 2007

More Chinese travel nightmares

Have I mentioned that travel in China is terrible? I'm sitting at Beijing Capital Airport right now. My flight was supposed to take off at 6 PM. It's now 7:30, but there is no indication of whether or not my flight will even take off tonight. It hasn't been cancelled, or even officially delayed yet. Chinese airlines don't delay a flight until a new departure time has been established. So even though the plane I'm supposed to be on is still parked at the gate in Shanghai, my flight is still "on-time."

All flights until tomorrow evening are also fully booked, thanks to undercapacity on the Shanghai-Beijing route as well as general equality among customers. Whereas in the United States, people would get bumped or volunteer to be bumped and get compensated, China treats everyone the same. All well and good for social equality, but I would pay $1000 to get back to Shanghai right now to see my wife, and the farmer next to me who paid $40 for his ticket is going to go first. Capitalism without a doubt leads to more efficient outcomes than communism.

Update: News reports indicate the frequent heavy fog in Beijing is due to particulate matter, i.e. pollution.

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