Store shelves stripped of goods as suspended services leave people with “no escape” at airport.

Typhoon Faxai made landfall just north of Tokyo Bay in Chiba Prefecture at 5:00 a.m. on Monday morning, ripping rooftops off buildings and causing commuter chaos at train stations in and around Tokyo.

Being in the direct path of the typhoon left Chiba worse off than many other areas in the region, and that meant the prefecture’s busiest transport hub, Narita Airport, was also affected.

Not only were international and domestic flights cancelled due to the severe winds, but after the storm passed, rail and bus services remained suspended throughout the morning.

Two runways opened shortly after 9:00 a.m., and as flights resumed, more and more travellers began arriving at the airport, only to find that there was no way to leave.

▼ Not a sign you want to see when arriving at an airport.

It wasn’t long before tired travellers began to surge in numbers inside the terminal.

Roads around the airport – marked in black on this map – were closed to traffic due to fallen trees and debris.

With trains and buses cancelled into the afternoon, approximately 6,800 people became stranded at the airport.

It wasn’t long before cries of “we’re stranded” and there’s no escape” began to appear on social media, as travellers likened their situation to being stranded on a deserted island.

While some decided to walk home through the flooded streets, in the hope that they would be able to step inside their front door by nightfall…

▼ Others chose to wait it out at the terminal.

With so many people at the airport, convenience store shelves were stripped of food.

Drinks in vending machines ran dangerously low, with red lights indicating a large number of sold-out items.

Thankfully, Narita Airport was able to provide some provisions, in the form of water and snacks.

▼ After a long and tiring wait, trains finally resumed running just before 6:00 p.m.

As soon as services resumed, crowds surged towards the exits, eventually coming to a standstill as people attempted to head home. According to Narita International Airport Corporation (NAA), approximately 13,000 people were inside the airport at 8:00 p.m.

Lines for the high-speed Keisei Skyliner train, which links the airport to downtown Tokyo, were incredibly long, even before getting through the ticket gates to the platform, which is where this video was filmed.

Crowds of people remained at the airport until late in the evening, as rail and bus services gradually transported travellers out of the terminal. And with restaurants closing early, due to being short-staffed in the face of such overwhelming demand, we can’t help but wonder: What might’ve happened if Narita Airport was left stranded for more than one day?

With the Rugby World Cup due to commence in just over a week, and the Tokyo Olympics now less than a year away, it’s a salient question that we hope transport staff and emergency services are now seriously addressing.

Source: Naver Matome 
Featured image: Pakutaso
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