• Sun
  • Dec 28, 2014
  • Updated: 5:34am
NewsHong Kong

Coffee threat to Shinawatra daughter by Cathay attendant

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 December, 2012, 7:28am

Getting served a cup of coffee is a routine part of flying, but the thought now has uncomfortable associations for one frequent business class patron, especially on board Cathay Pacific.

The unease was expressed by Paetongtarn Shinawatra - the youngest daughter of ousted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra - after a Thai cabin crew member on the Hong Kong-based airline revealed she thought about throwing coffee in her face.

A Facebook post by the flight attendant reportedly shows a photo of the manifest - the list of passengers - for a Hong Kong-bound Cathay flight from Bangkok on November 25, on which the attendant came across Paetongtarn's name.

"I never expected that [Paetongtarn] was on board today," the post reads. "I immediately told my flight manager I could not work knowing the daughter of my enemy was on the plane.

"I called my personal adviser asking if it would be all right to throw coffee at Paetongtarn, but was told that this could breach Hong Kong's laws.

"I was so angry, and could not come to terms with the failure of [the November 24] anti-government rally in Bangkok."

Cathay is now under pressure to sack the flight attendant, with its Facebook page jammed with complaints from users in politically divided Thailand.

Paetongtarn was quoted by the Bangkok-based The Nation as saying: "It was uncomfortable to learn that the person who was supposed to be a flight attendant actually wanted to pour coffee on my face. Tea or coffee?

"I just travelled to see my father and to work. If that's wrong or makes you angry, I apologise. Most of the hostesses on Cathay Pacific are polite."

Hundreds of comments were posted on Cathay's Facebook page, demanding that the crew member be removed and questioning the company's privacy policies. One user, Thananya Sitthinawin, wrote: "I won't fly with this airline any more."

The airline said in a statement: "Cathay Pacific regrets this unfortunate incident and wishes to assure all of our customers that their privacy - and strict adherence to all privacy regulations - is extremely important to us.

"We have spoken with the crew member involved. She is currently not operating while she co-operates with our ongoing investigation."


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This article is now closed to comments

She exposed the identity of a passenger on a flight, which unless you are working for some kind of law enforcement, is illegal. And Facebook is about an open forum as you can get.
It is not totally public like public media. On Facebook it is depending on how many people you invited and to how many you make your thoughts "public". If I have seen a prominent personality in my company I will tell this to all my friends and family. Is this exposing and making public? And if it was a confidential flight and forbidden to tell about Paetongtarn's appearance on the plane to avoid public knowledge about this, so why didn't she fly privately in a private jet?
Data privacy is not ambiguous as you have described.
Telling your friends and family about the identity of passengers, as a working employee of an airline, is technically a breach of data privacy.
Now obviously there's no such rules for passengers, and you can be free to talk about this all you want.
The key difference here is that she was a paid employee that is bound by professional and ethical rules, regulations and procedures. If you don't like your job, you can quit, which in this case, she will most likely be dismissed.
the question is, did she or did she not harm the person she hated? If not, so what is the accusation? I do not like many people in my circle of known people, but I do work with them together and cooperate even there is despise. I am a professional. I can handle it. The flight attendant for sure. Sacking her only because she does not like Paetongtarn is going too far. Even she wrote something on her facebook does not mean she did it in reality. Facebook is something like a diary and should be regarded as an exchange of private thoughts.
to my Opinion she should not be dismissed, and i put following reasons:-
- she intended to harm but never did.
- she refrained herself from harming "the daughter".
- She actually did nothing to harm any one.
- Having a thought to harm someone but in reality not harming is NOT illegal in any jurisdiction.
However, she should be given more training to tolerate others who have different thoughts, for this purpose she should be taught lesson of moral education.
The flight attendant should be dismissed immediately, as Cathay is a service industry. No matter how hate you have on a person family, you have to show restraint in dealing with it. You cant blow up your own anger hurting your colleagues, who are also serving their job. Privacy is so important in today world, you dont bring your grudge to your work. A doctor had to treat a patient even he doen't not like him or whether he is with Aid or not. Hope this air stewardess learn her lesson.
Why is an employee of Cathay Pacific allowed to write about her work on her private Facebook page? In UK, this is certainly a reason for her employer to fire her, regardless of what she writes.
Are we allowed to voice our opinions anymore? Are we allowed to chat among ourselves? Did she "actually throw the coffee?" NO
Who cares what aristocratic sensibilities were harmed. But having said that, the cabin crew should not be revealing the passenger manifest.
Paetongtam need not worry unduly. Cathay's coffee is lukewarm and just like water anyway. So, if she gets targetted, she could just treat it as a refresher.
The flight attendant obviously needs counselling, but firing? She did not actually do anything, and if the whole crew were to be judged by what went through their minds on every flight, there would be no flight attendants left.



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