BEIJING – Exasperated passengers everywhere have at some point felt like lashing out over the frustrations of modern air travel. One prominent member of China’s Communist Party acted on that urge recently to the undoubted dismay of airline workers but the delight of many online viewers.
In a video that went viral over the weekend, Yan Linkun, a deputy chairman of a mining company and a member of a Communist Party political advisory body in Yunnan, is seen smashing up a gate counter at Kunming Changshui International Airport.
Shanghai Daily reported that Yan, his wife and two 10-year-old sons missed their 11 a.m. flight to the southern Guangdong city of Shenzhen on Feb. 5. The family was put on another flight at 1 p.m. the following day, only to miss that one as well after they went for breakfast and didn't hear the boarding announcement.
That’s when hostilities kicked off.
Airport surveillance video leaked to local Chinese media on Friday shows Yan’s reaction to the news that he and his family had missed the second flight.
A minute into the video, Yan pushes against the gate’s glass door. He then slaps his hand on the counter, yells and grabs a computer keyboard and hurls it at the screens.
Yan continues to throw equipment at the counter, and at one point tries to kick down the gate door. Seemingly immobilized airport security personnel and a growing crowd is seen watching the rampage.
His wife, whose name has not been reported, also gets in on the act, and smashes what appears to be a coffee cup midway through the video.
Despite the tantrum, the Shanghai Daily reported that airport police in Kunming were still investigating to determine whether Yan would face any criminal charges.
The paper also reported that Yan had apologized to the airport’s deputy manager, telling him, “My irrational actions and rudeness have caused some losses to the airport as well as bad effects to the public, so I sincerely apologize to the airport and public. I am willing to compensate."
Yan also explained he and his wife had reacted angrily because they were in a hurry to get their children back to school in time for the end of the New Year holiday, the newspaper reported.
That contrition reportedly wasn’t good enough for his bosses. Yan’s employer, Yunnan Mining Corp., suspended him.
The local Communist People's Political Consultative Conference -- one of the regional advisory boards to China’s ruling Communist Party -- was considering whether to impose some kind of punishment, Shanghai Daily reported.
NBC News tried unsuccessfully to contact Yen and Yunnan Mining Corp. to get their version of events.
On China’s Twitter-like service, Weibo, users were quick to joke about the meltdown and to ask how in the world Yan had ever risen to become a CPPCC member.
“I suggest that Yan smash an airplane next time so that he can show his real power as a CPPCC member!" one sarcastic user wrote.
Others dismissed the tantrum as the privilege of China’s new moneyed elite.
“That's just how a rich man acts,” wrote one user, “He who has wealth speaks louder than others."
New Communist Party boss, Xi Jinping, has taken a tougher stance against Party corruption and poor behavior since taking power late last year.
A series of high profile anti-graft and corruption campaigns have brought down a number of officials across China and approval from mainland Chinese eager to see systemic corruption stamped out.
NBC News’ Grace Huang contributed to this report.