Sim Sim Wissgott

A thread 👇

#Travel chaos, #flights cancelled, summer holiday plans ruined. There have been plenty of these headlines lately. But let me give you some insight from #China.

I'm one of hundreds of foreigners trying to leave the country after the #lockdown chaos in Shanghai, Beijing, etc...

Most of us haven't been abroad in 2.5 years. China shut its borders when #COVID started + still hasn't reopened them.
For a long time, the issue was getting back into the country: expensive flights, non-stop rule changes + 3-week hotel quarantine (at your expense) on arrival.

But now getting out has also become a struggle. China has slashed the number of international flights in and out of the country.
And it still suspends flights if 1-2 positive COVID cases are found on board.
The result is this:

Just 39 connections between China and Europe this week.
That's 5 return flights per day.
For all of China.

(Pic from Hey Expat WeChat group)

And flights can be cancelled at short notice, a nightmare for anyone planning an int'l move.
@lufthansa's once-weekly Beijing-Frankfurt flight was one of the most reliable. Not only Europeans, but people heading for the US booked it because for months it operated like clockwork.

Then last week, #Lufthansa announced the early Saturday flight was cancelled, without explanation.
This week's flight has also now been cancelled.
Passengers have been left scrambling to re-book on other flights.

The problem is there are hardly any out there to book!
The #Lufthansa flight was so popular there's a whole #WeChat group with 200+ people dedicated to it.
And people in it have been growing desperate.

We get it: airlines face staff shortages, fuel supply problems and sudden high demand.
But if you're going to cancel a flight, cancel one that isn't an absolute #lifeline to so many people.

Int'l flights from #China aren't filled w/people going on a beach holiday.
If you cancel them, there aren't 20 more options the same day.
People can't go home + wait for another flight: they've packed up their lives, given up their flat & are carrying pets, kids & extra bags.

Not to be dramatic, but flights out of #China are practically evacuation flights at this point.
Relocating during a pandemic is difficult enough, but those leaving China now have already had to face the very real possibility that a lockdown might throw everything up in the air..

... that a few cases could make it impossible to leave their residence and get to the airport.

I've now booked my 3rd flight home: the 1st was cancelled, the 2nd could get cancelled, the 3rd is a back-up.

So to @Lufthansa + all #airlines:
I get you're trying to make money + focus on the most popular route. But please also do some research & figure out how your cancellations impact people.
I dare say you've already lost a lot of loyal customers through these #China cancellations.

To aviation reporters, maybe an angle to consider for your next travel chaos story. #China

@GwynTopham @paulsillers @MiddleSeat @tomcostellonbc @AirlineFlyer @_benkatz

Wed Jun 22 14:12:58 +0000 2022