During the month of July, only 17.8 percent of flights departing from Beijing were on time, according to FlightStats. In August, on-time departures rose to a still-dismal 28.8 percent.
Between May and August, state media reported 26 brawls at Chinese airports as delays trigger "near-riots."
Passengers have been delayed even for short domestic flights by 18 hours in some cases, and the gridlock is causing a lot of strife.
In July, passengers beat up airport staff in three separate incidents at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport. Some staff required hospitalization. The following weekend, 30 passengers stormed a runway after a seven-hour delay in Nanchang, in Jiangxi province.
Since 2003, airline passengers in China nearly quadrupled to 319 million in 2012. Exploding economic growth hasn't been matched by infrastructure growth, leading to airspace as backed up as China's highways.
Further, some 80 percent of China's airspace is controlled by the People's Liberation Army -- compared with just 17 percent federally-controlled airspace in the U.S. -- making it difficult for commercial flights to get clearance.
Until China constructs its planned 55 new airports, however, irate passengers continue to snap inside airport terminals.
In response, one Hong Kong airline is teaching its flight attendants kung fu.