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China travelers open emergency exits to protest flight delay

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Beijing, Jan 11 (AP) - Upset by a delayed flight, two Chinese passengers decided to open emergency exit doors in protest as the plane was taxiing, forcing it to abort takeoff and landing them in jail instead, police said Sunday. The latest in a growing number of air rage cases involving Chinese travelers happened in the early hours of Saturday morning in the southwestern city of Chengdu, after the China Eastern flight was delayed by a snow storm. Angry passengers complained about the delay and a lack of ventilation, and a man surnamed Zhou opened two emergency exits to prevent the plane from taking off, forcing it to return to the gate. A total of 25 passengers were held for questioning while the rest continued on to Beijing aboard a separate flight. Kunming police said in an online statement that Zhou and a tour guide named Li have been placed under 15-day "administrative detention" for opening the doors and inciting passengers with false information. China's fast growing air travel market is the world's second biggest, but heavy traffic and tight military control of airspace have given it the world's worst record for flight delays. Flight cancelations and delays have sparked frequent incidents of air rage aboard Chinese flights and at airports. Brawls between passengers and attacks on crew have also grown more frequent, many of them filmed and posted online. Concerns over lengthy tarmac waits prompted U.S. aviation authorities to pass regulations in 2010 requiring planes to return to the gate after three hours.