The first nonstop flight from Beijing with more than 300 passengers landed in Houston Thursday afternoon.
The almost 14 hour flight brought in The plane from Air China, which marks the airline's first new nonstop route to the U.S. in 30 years.
Passengers were welcomed by Chinese decorations in the terminal at Bush Intercontinental Airport, music and food. Mayor Annise Parker, Head of Houston Airport System Mario Diaz and top representatives from Air China welcomed the travelers.
The inaugural flight included former Rockets star Yao Ming and Houston's Consul General of China Xu Erwen. They were greeted by applause and an unusual scene at Bush Intercontinental.
The terminal was adorned with Chinese lanterns; Chinese food and tea were served; and two musicians played traditional Chinese instruments, the guzheng and pipa, as guests from the Chinese community and airport officials from both airlines waited for the flight to arrive at 3:30 p.m. Air China will now offer the nonstop flight between Beijing and Houston four days a week.
After the plane landed, dragon dancers performed in a colorful, elaborate costumes and city and airport leaders spoke to the crowd about how their dreams and years-long plans were finally coming to fruition. All the speeches were translated into a Chinese dialect.