Yesterday Qi asked for a window seat on the flight from Beijing to Shanghai, and the check-in person said that was no problem and gave us seat 26F and G. But when we entered the plane (an old B737) it turned out that F and G were middle seats, and we were surrounded by a loud Chinese tour group from Jiangsu province. It was the second time they were flying (first time was on their way to Beiijng) and they were all extremely excited about it, and were screaming all across the plane to each other. They brought their own food and drinks (thermos flasks of tea), and the guy next to me smelled as if he had not taken a bath since Chinese New Year’s eve. Because I was quite sick I did not feel too comfortable with them around me.
But we managed to find a solution. Qi had already complained about not getting the window seats we were supposed to get, and the stewardess said she would see if she could arrange something. Well, she could not, because the plane was fully booked. Just when she came to tell us this, the tour group people in the emergency exit seats were given the instructions on how to open the doors in case of an emergency landing. You cannot sit there if you do not understand those. The purser and two stewardesses gave them the instructions to read, which they tried to do. But it soon became obvious that they were illiterate, so they were not allowed to sit there. Although I felt bad for them we gladly volunteered to change places with them!