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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific suspends flying duties of crew accused of discrimination

Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific suspends flying duties of crew accused of discrimination

User on mainland Chinese social media claims flight attendant told colleague that passengers ‘cannot understand the human language’.

Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific Airways has suspended the flying duties of cabin crew members accused by a Mandarin-speaking passenger of insulting and discriminating against non-English speakers.

Announcing the decision on mainland Chinese social media platform Weibo, the airline on Tuesday apologised again and said it had carried out an internal investigation, the results of which would be released within three days.

The move came after details posted by a user on social media on the alleged unpleasant experience on a flight from Chengdu in Sichuan province to Hong Kong on Sunday.

The passenger said on mainland Chinese social media platform Xiaohongshu that some cabin crew members on CX987 had throughout the flight complained among themselves in English and Cantonese about customers.

A screen capture of Cathay’s apology on its mainland social media account.

“I really don’t understand why there is so much malice towards passengers who don’t speak English or Cantonese,” the user, whose gender is not stated, said.

The passenger accused the flight attendants of making fun of others’ language ability by saying in English: “If you cannot say ‘blanket’, you cannot have it,” and “Carpet is on the floor”.

The accuser also said some passengers inquired in English how to fill in the immigration form, but were only met with impatient responses from cabin crew.

One flight attendant was said to have remarked in Cantonese to her colleague: “They cannot understand the human language”, after making an in-flight announcement in Cantonese to remind passengers to remain seated when the safety belt sign was on, as an elderly passenger holding a child went to the toilet.

The user, claiming to be a native Mandarin speaker who had lived in Hong Kong for 11 years and spoke fluent English and Cantonese, added it was the right thing to do to expose discriminatory treatment.

“Not a moment went by when I was not sad or angry,” the passenger said, urging the carrier to improve staff training to prevent similar incidents. “Why can’t you show basic respect to passengers? Is this your trained staff quality, Cathay Pacific?”

Cathay earlier released a statement on its official account on Weibo on Monday apologising for the incident, adding it attached great importance to the case.

“We have contacted relevant passengers to learn more about the situation and will investigate and handle the incident seriously,” it said. “We once again express our deep apologies for the trouble this incident has caused to everyone.”


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