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Weather turns bad as back-home travel peaks

(China Daily)

09:44, January 19, 2012

Passengers stranded by heavy fog wait on Wednesday at the Xi'an Xianyang International Airport in Northwest China's Shaanxi province. (China Daily Photo)

BEIJING/XI'AN - This year's annual travel rush, which will go into full swing in the next three days, will encounter bad weather, and the road home could be a tough one for many heading to Spring Festival family reunions.

Heavy fog on Wednesday stranded more than 14,000 passengers at the Xi'an Xianyang International Airport in Northwest China's Shaanxi province, where visibility was reduced to less than 100 meters.

Airport authorities said the dense fog grounded more than 200 flights since Wednesday morning. By 6 pm, 47 flights in and out of Xi'an had been canceled.

With air tickets sold out during the travel rush, many passengers whose flights were canceled found themselves in a predicament.

Xu Ning, a 30-year-old Xi'an native trapped in Shanghai Pudong International Airport since noon, said if he could not find a ticket to Xi'an, he would not be able to spend Spring Festival eve with his family.

"The airport staff told us that we could choose between endlessly waiting in the airport or rescheduling our flight for one of the next couple of days. But I just found out that tickets for flights to Xi'an later this week were all booked," he said.

Zhang Yao, 28, who arrived with her husband at Beijing Capital International Airport at 3 pm from Belgium, found the flight she planned to take to Xi'an had been canceled.

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