Chongqing, China, Sept. 9, 2020 – Dr. Man-Chung Tang, Chairman of the Board of T.Y.Lin International and member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, made his way back to Chongqing from New York after purchasing the 10th flight ticket in half a year. He talked about his experience of trying to get back to China.
During China’s Spring Festival, Dr. Tang and his wife flew to Africa for their vacation. The outbreak of COVID-19 in China changed its plan of going back. Instead, they flew to New York at the end of January.
“We bought 10 tickets. 9 tickets of them were canceled.” Said Dr. Tang. During the first half-year, Dr. Tang didn’t stop trying to buy tickets through travel agencies, but the tickets got canceled again and again as the number of flights sharply declined. “You can hardly buy tickets from travel agencies. I know some people would line up at the airport from 3 am, to wait for somebody who may not be able to fly so they could get the ticket. But that’s very seldom happened. Usually, you may have a hundred people line up but only get two tickets. We didn’t do that. “
Dr. Tang also tried the chartered flight from New York to Chongqing. “We had to find 14 people to fly with us. And each flight cost 2.5 million RMB, and we couldn’t find 14 people, so it wasn’t successful. Even if we had found 14 people, the cost would have been 140 thousand RMB per person, it is still a lot of money.” said Dr. Tang.
“At that time there were still people in the U.S. who didn’t believe the whole thing is true. We lived in Flushing, New York. There are many Chinese people there. And Chinese people are more obedient. And they knew what happened in Wuhan, so they all put on masks. It’s safer.” He said.
On July 30, by taking Lufthansa airline, Dr. Tang and his wife successfully landed in Shanghai. “I’m very excited to come back.” He said. He recalled the experience of landing in Shanghai, “I’m very impressed at what they did in Shanghai. Everything went very smoothly and was very organized. We got off the plane and stood in line, and we already knew which hotel to go to. In the 14 days of quarantine in the hotel, there were 3 meals a day, and the meals were put on the chairs next to the door. It was a very special experience. In the room, television and the internet were equipped for entertainment.”
“We used to live in New York and my children and grandchildren are there. It was not too bad. But still, we want to come back as soon as possible, so we can do what we’re supposed to do.” Said Dr. Tang. As a world authority in bridges, Dr. Tang set up the company providing leading-edge engineering and architectural services in Chongqing in 1994 and has been involved in over 10 bridge projects for the city.