Tales of the traveller – Chinese legroom

Travelling on China’s internal airlines is an experience – for many reasons including the ability to shoehorn fifty per cent more paying passengers on each flight than anywhere else in the known universe.

Now, it’s not being racist to suggest the Chinese are generally somewhat lesser in stature than Aussies. Hey, some of my best friends are Chinese, right! However, leg room is a concept that has never been explained to the mandarins that operate these services.

With a population of 1.5 billion, there are plenty of takers for just about every seat on every flight and the airline hasn’t been invented that doesn’t take maximising its revenue very seriously indeed. So, when you enter a Chinese airline you get the impression that it’s twice as long as any other plane you’ve ever boarded. Nah, it’s just all those extra rows of seats.

Stowing your baggage can be quite tricky when there are so many additional people fighting for a share of the same amount of overhead locker space – and you’re the foreigner!

Once you’ve got your bum down, it’s actually quite comforting – in a similar way to when a car airbag inflates to wrap you in a protective embrace.

Don’t take any notice of those in-flight scoldings that you should wear your seat-belt at all times – you wouldn’t budge an inch if you flew into the side of a mountain anyway, given how tightly wedged you are.

The wonderful thing is that they let you out at the other end. It just takes a few minutes extra to get feeling back into your lower limbs.