As I was waking on the morning we were to fly from Nanchang to Xian, the memory of our only internal flight 25 years ago came back to me. We arrived at the airport about an hour before the flight from Beijing to Nanjing. The airport terminal, a dirty, squat building was completely locked up. There was no sign of activity. We wondered if we were in the right place. After about twenty minutes, some officials turned up, unlocked the doors, took our tickets and we were escorted to a plane, a very shabby plane. The seat back wobbled. There were no seat belts. It felt like the seats were missing a few essential bolts. The attendant offered us a piece of hard candy.
David and I glanced at one another wondering if it was really safe to take our five-month-old first born child on such a contraption. And, of course, we breathed deeply and settled into out seats, arms around our sleeping son, and had a safe flight.
Now airports are large and modern, especially considering the somewhat limited amount of air traffic during this economic downturn. We did wait in the plane for two hours due to a thunderstorm in Beijing but that was a welcome wait in the interest of safety, given the rough weather.
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