We flew from Harbin to Beijing on the evening of January 9, 2012. We planned to stay the night at an airport hotel as we had an early flight to Taipei the next morning. When we arrived, there was a thick smoke in the air, and the massive airport was filled with a soft haze. It smelled like Yosemite, as if there were hundreds of nearby campfires burning. By the morning, the overnight fog had combined with this smoke to form an impenetrable layer of filth that entirely obscured the sky. It was until after noon that visibility became greater than 100 feet. We finally left for Taiwan around 2PM, about 6 hours late. I had heard a lot about the poor air quality in China, but got to experience it first hand.
The jetway is barely visible.
After several hours, our Air China plane finally appeared. It had been there the whole time.