• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 11:09am
NewsHong Kong

Hong Kong Airlines staff may stage 'No Putonghua' protest after sit-in

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 June, 2014, 4:25am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 June, 2014, 9:24am

Some Hong Kong Airlines staff have expressed support for a "No Putonghua" protest on July 1 after more than 70 passengers, mostly mainlanders, staged an 18-hour sit-in on a plane when their flight to Shanghai was cancelled.

Problems with the Hong Kong-Shanghai flight started at about 9pm on Friday after 276 passengers had boarded. Due to problems with mainland air traffic control, the passengers were asked to leave and offered alternative flights.

However, about 70 passengers, said to be mostly mainlanders, refused to disembark and occupied the plane for 18 hours. They finally left after the airline offered an undisclosed amount of compensation.

Watch: Hong Kong Airlines passengers stage 18-hour sit-in on plane

On Sunday, a message was posted anonymously on a Facebook page targeting staff of Hong Kong Airlines and prompting discussion of the incident.

The message suggested that the airline staff refrain from speaking Putonghua on July 1. The online post had received about 2,530 "likes" as of last night.

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An airline flight attendant, who asked not to be identified, said she had heard about the campaign from colleagues.

"I support it. But my concern is if it can really work," she said, adding that she would have to speak to the passengers in English instead.

An airline ground staff member said it was "very likely" he and his colleagues would join.

"I am thinking that I will talk to [mainland passengers] in Cantonese first, and act surprised when they speak Putonghua, just to tease them a bit," he said.

He was upset that the airline had not shown any appreciation of the cabin crew, who had acted professionally during the sit-in.

He said that the crew onboard the "occupied" plane last Friday has served food and handed out blankets to the passengers.

Some crew members even lent the protestors their portable phone "power banks".

"But the passengers took pictures of the crew and posted them on the internet after their phones were charged," the Hong Kong Airlines employee said.

An airline spokesman said he believed that its staff would do all they could to serve passengers in accordance with a professional code of conduct.



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This article is now closed to comments

As awesome an idea that is, it wouldn’t be the right thing to do. The sit-in passengers were in the wrong for acting like fools. Don’t sink to their level by acting unprofessionally.

The next time something like this happens, just call the authorities and have them all arrested for hijacking. After all, that is what happened, right? A group of people conspired to take control of the aircraft and won’t relent unless given a ransom. That HAS to be a criminal offense.
I've taken more than 100 flights in the US and Europe in the past two decades and NEVER experienced passengers like this even in the worst of weather and delays. I will be totally ashamed to be a Chinese if I share a flight with these Mainlanders and something like this happens in the US or Europe. The core issue is that channels to vent ones grievances in China are not available. Injustice is the norm. Now they have a chance to "vent their angers" and make a few bucks at the same time. If the pilot asked the passengers to disembark, they must do so or else just call the police to hurl them off the plane.
What sort if idiots would to sit in a plane for 18 hours when alternatives were offered
In any other western country and in China, the Police would have been called to remove these disruptive and unruly people. Why did this not happen? Did the airline management wish to avoid embarrassment?
By paying these people and giving in to blackmailers you will only encourage others to do the same.
The Hong Kong government should place a travel ban on these uncivilized visitors...it really is so ironic when people say that people should never fly Hong Kong airlines because firstly Hong Kong airlines is a mainland airline not a Hong Kong based airline :p , they simply used the name Hong Kong in their name and two the delay was due to Mainland travel authorities which had nothing to do with the airline or Hong Kong airport.
Mainland people traveling to the mainland know that flights are always delayed or cancelled because 80% of Chinese airspace is for military purposes. They are just taking a chance because they are in Hong Kong
flg delays are routine in China.. up to almost 70% of all flights.. If these passengers were brave enough they should do the same in China!! they would be thrown out of the plane before they could say WTF!!
What is wrong with these people; sounds like a good excuse for one more night down Wan Chai. But seriously, Health and Safety must come first. Get off the plane and do what you are told. If you did this in the US you would never board another flight again for the rest of eternity.
These mainlanders are simply pervert and uncivilized. HK Airline can't do anything and push the flight to take-off. They should blamed their own government for the poor management and incompetency of PLA who used to manage the in and out flight from mainland. These mainlanders simply wanted to take advantage of the good service provided by HK Airline and kick back for some money. This shows how evil and greedy mainlanders are. They can't even complain when they boarded airlines belonging to china. A bunch of rubbish passengers....SHAME ON YOU RUBBISH MAINLANDERS...
This shows impressively, that "time is money" is not a Chinese concept. If you look at how much time is stolen from us in mainland business with inefficiency, bureaucracy, most importantly piles of paper, and calculate that at an hourly rate, significant amounts would result.
Delays and cancellations of mainland flights will continue, as long as China's air force is allowed to control the airspace at will.
Actually they should ask compensation from Pudong or Honqiao airport. 99% of the delays are always caused in China (esp SH and Beijing). problems always start in China.
having said that i do think Chinese should protest more about these issues, but inside china where the root cause of all the problems are. HK airport can handle same or more traffic with 2 runways than Pudong which has 6 runways!



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