They were expecting to roam among the skyscrapers of Shanghai, instead they were boxed in a Siberian hotel for three days.
Passengers of an Air France flight from Paris to Shanghai had to encounter the legendary Siberian cold when their plane made an emergency landing in Irkutsk on Sunday.
Having spent the night in Irkutsk, the stranded passengers were expecting to complete their journey the next day when a replacement plane arrived. Alas, the second plane could not take off due to technical difficulties, much to the ire of the already boarded travellers.
Having no Russian visas, they are consistently accompanied by police and are not allowed to leave hotel premises. With their clothing, adequate for East Asian autumn, cigarette breaks are hardly bearable in the biting Siberian frost.
A third Air France plane is headed their way and they will hope that third time's a charm.
Update: The passengers finally left Irkutsk on a third Air France plane on Wednesday morning, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported.