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Trapped travellers scramble for new plans

2019-08-12 HKT 17:35
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  • Travellers crowd airline counters after their flights were cancelled. Photo: AP
    Travellers crowd airline counters after their flights were cancelled. Photo: AP
Hundreds of travellers were scrambling to rearrange their plans as the Hong Kong Airport Authority said it was cancelling all outbound flights except those already checked-in, as thousands of protesters occupied the arrival hall, extending their 72-hour sit-in into previously untouched areas.

A traveller from Manchester, Sophie Hiley, is not very happy about it as she had reached the airport early to avoid any chaos.

Her flight back home was among the hundreds that were cancelled. "I am not happy with this," she said.

Iranian citizen Jahan Rezakhanlou, who was in transit on his way to Australia, said he is looking for accommodation to ride out the delay.

Rezakhanlou, who had travelled to Hong Kong recently, said he still supported the protesters in the airport and said he respects Hong Kongers fighting for democracy and freedom.

"I'm stuck, asking around on social media for accommodation," he said, but added he still has a lot of respect for the protesters.

Another traveller, Clowting Joost from Netherlands, said he appreciated the peaceful means of these protesters as he does not support violence.

"Their cause is good," he said. "They have very good reasons to do this." Joost said though he is getting affected by their action, he was not annoyed with them.

Travellers heading into the city also were caught in the chaos. Kesu, who planned to fly back to Hong Kong from India with his son on Monday, said he was informed of the shut down in Hong Kong after checking into a connecting flight.

"Actually this frustrating because my son's school is starting tomorrow. He is very upset with that," said Kesu.

He said he had problems getting flights out of his home state, Kerala, which is now experiencing severe floods had shut some airports. They resumed flights only the previous day and now this, he said.

Meanwhile at the Airport Express station, one woman said she was planning to head to the airport to join the protesters but cancelled the plan after getting messages that police will start action to clear the place soon.

But she said many of her friends were at the protest already.

The woman who didn't give her name, said many people like her had planned to go to the airport but were dissuaded by messages of imminent police action. Besides, the goal of forcing flight cancellations has been achieved already, she said.

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Last updated: 2019-08-12 HKT 19:22