Airborne Chinese Marketplace

On the flight from Amsterdam to Hangzhou Saturday, I observed some interesting behaviour on the part of my Chinese co-travellers. After the main meal, the stewardesses went around hawking tax-free goods. At this time, a bunch of people stood up and formed a large prattling group in the aisles toward the rear of the plane where myself and Junior were seated. They seemed to be discussing the merits of the wares among themselves and with the Chinese stewardess, reading labels and handing packages around for inspection. The whole thing looked like a cross between a cocktail party and an Oriental market, and it sounded like a flock of jackdaws. Everybody was clearly having a good time. Then, after 45 minutes or so, they went back to their seats and most of them fell asleep. Upon landing I learned that these gregarious people were on a group trip and so must have been at least slightly acquainted.


  1. #1 dustbubble
    May 22, 2011

    I trust none of these “packages” exceeded 10cl liquid capacity?

  2. #2 Martin R
    May 23, 2011

    Yeah, and there didn’t seem to be any very wide range of explosives on offer either.

  3. #3 Birger Johansson
    May 23, 2011

    Aerosol explosives… there is a reason why the military only use them for very big explosions, they do not scale well downwards in terms of reliability of combustion.

    The ban on liquids is an excellent example of “security theater” -they might as well have garlic against vampire travellers. The only idiots to try liquid explosives (aerosols or nitroglycerin) failed in their efforts to bring down a plane.

    Anyway, great that they found a use for the travel time.

    Did some middle-aged Anthony Hopkins lookalike offer you a snack on the way?

  4. #4 Martin R
    May 23, 2011

    Hannibal Lecter? Er… No.

  5. #5 Riman Butterbur
    May 24, 2011

    Let’s see… German is for horses, English is for geese… and Chinese is for jackdaws?

  6. #6 Monado, FCD
    May 25, 2011

    I’ve had stewardi on flights from the U.S. to Canada offer duty-free liquor early in the flight; but when I asked about it later, I found that it had all been put away again and was not available.

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