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Coffee threat to Shinawatra daughter by Cathay attendant

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


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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."