Kunming's international airport sometimes just cannot catch a break. With near metronomic frequency, something occurs inside a terminal or on a plane that simply makes people shake their heads. On April 18, it happened on the tarmac, as a married couple exchanged blows for several minutes in what appears to have been a domestic squabble of epic proportions.
The incident began as passengers boarded a China Eastern flight from Kunming to Chengdu. As is common at Changshui Airport, travelers were bused from their departure gate to a waiting plane. Everyone had boarded except for an unidentified couple, who stayed on the tarmac to argue. The quarrel took a turn for the worse when the man angrily jabbed his finger towards his wife's face.
A shaky smartphone video of the fight has made the rounds on Chinese social media, and shows the woman on the ground pulling her husband's shirt off. The man then put his sport jacket back on before engaging in a wrestling match with his wife. Eventually, the plane's flight crew called airport security, who in turn phoned Kunming police.
The pair — who are reportedly going through an extremely messy divorce — was separated and both were taken into police custody. The altercation involved no serious injuries but did delay the flight to Chengdu for 30 minutes. Curiously, neither of the combatants were charged with any crimes, but were instead "educated through criticism" — or "piping jiaoyu" (批评教育) in Chinese — by several police officers, according to multiple news outlets.
This type of tedious and self-important display has become something of a running joke among Kunming residents, as reports of such incidents continue to mount. Over the past several years, multiple ridiculous outbursts have occurred at the city's airport. These have included passengers organizing a sit-down strike on the runway to protest a late-departing flight, a minor provincial official demolishing a ticketing desk in front of his children, a fake bomb threat and several incidents of people attempting to open airplane emergency exists in order to "get some fresh air".
When it first opened five years ago, Changshui suffered a series of self-inflicted black eyes when seemingly normal weather events would bring the facility to a virtual standstill and strand thousands. Those issues have largely been solved, only to have have been replaced by naughty travelers. Last year, the transport hub became the thirty-eighth busiest airport in the world, serving 42 million passengers and posting an on-time departure rate of 88 percent. On Wednesday, however, two self-involved idiots missed their flight.