|Airport rage in China|
Now, I’m normally skeptical when I read these things, but the fact is that A LOT of similar incidents have been reported in China over the past few months, some of which I’m going to highlight in this blog post. And no, even though I’m posting this on April 1, it’s not an April Fools joke!
So where do I start? A couple of weeks ago, passengers on-board Hong Kong Airlines flight HX162 were upset when their aircraft had been grounded at Hainan’s Sanya Airport for six hours. In fact, four hours into the delay, an elderly male was unable to hold back his frustration and stormed into the business class cabin, where he started to physically and verbally attack a stewardess.
And the reaction from his fellow passengers? Well, according to a report in South China Morning Post, the vast majority of other travelers started to cheer and applaud the old man. A couple of Western businessmen were eventually able to pull the attacker away and he returned to his seat.
It’s interesting that he wasn’t removed from the aircraft or arrested. The airline revealed last summer that it deals with three incidents of disruptive passengers a week on average, due to which Hong Kong Airlines cabin crew receive compulsory training in Wing Chun, a martial art. Sounds like a wise move.
A month earlier, China Southern was forced to delay a Melbourne-bound flight, which resulted in two Chinese passengers beating an employee to the ground. A photo of the incident (featured on this page) was covered in a Bloomberg report and went viral online. Again, it’s not clear if action was taken against the culprits.
When last year, when around 20 angry passengers dashed toward the runway at Shanghai's main international airport to protest against a 16-hour flight delay, they were given 1,000 yuan each in compensation from the carrier, Shenzhen Airlines. None of the protesters were reprimanded according to Reuters, even though they came within 200 metres of an oncoming plane from the United Arab Emirates.
The question has to be asked, why aren’t the airlines taking action in such cases? Wang Zhenghua, founder and chairman of Shanghai-based budget carrier Spring Airlines, provided some answers during an interview with Reuters last year, saying: "When flights get delayed, passengers make a lot of trouble. Sometimes they even beat our staff.”
He added: “Airlines are actually the weaker party. With the government calling for a 'harmonious society', the only thing we can do is to give them compensation to calm them down."
What are your views? Do you think such incidents are common worldwide and China should not be singled out? Or should the country adopt a stricter attitude when dealing with air rage? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!