(AFP) – Jul 29, 2008
BEIJING (AFP) — Angry passengers scuffled with police in an airport in southwest China on Tuesday, smashing computers and desks after they were stranded overnight, allegedly without food or lodging, state media said.
More than 170 passengers were holed up at an airport in Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, after three China Southern Airlines flights were delayed late Monday due to bad weather, the Xinhua news agency reported.
Some passengers were told to go to a hotel by themselves but ended up being rejected once they arrived, it said.
All the passengers, aged between two and 60, had to spend the night on an aircraft or in the departure hall without food, the report said.
On Tuesday, they demanded an apology from the airline and a time for the rescheduled flights.
The "improper manner" of China Southern staff enraged the frustrated passengers, leading some to smash computers and desks with chairs and fight with police in the airport, Xinhua said.
However, China Southern denied the accusation that it did not provide food or accommodation, adding some furious passengers were left at the airport because they refused the company's hotel arrangements.
"Staff from the airport and China Southern's Kunming branch were all along on the spot, communicating with the passengers and arranging rescheduled flights, food and accommodation for them after the original flights were delayed," it said in a statement emailed to AFP.
It said around 100 passengers on the delayed flights stayed in hotels offered by the company on Monday night.
All the stranded passengers had left Kunming by Tuesday afternoon on two separate rescheduled flights after reaching an undisclosed agreement with the carrier, according to a later report by Xinhua.
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