K-pop, Mandopop and other Asian pop

Obsessive Chinese fans of K-pop stars Wanna One force flight to be delayed

  • Fans from mainland China and Hong Kong had booked tickets to get a closer look at their idols, but then demanded to leave the plane before it took off
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2018, 5:12pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2018, 9:10pm

Three overenthusiastic K-pop fans have been blamed for delaying a flight after booking tickets so they could get a closer view of their idols.

The trio, two from mainland China and one from Hong Kong, had booked tickets on a Korean Air flight between Hong Kong and Seoul, which members of the band Wanna One were travelling on after performing in the city.

When the band boarded the flight on Saturday afternoon the trio, who had paid for first, business and economy class tickets, surrounded the singers waving posters, according to Korean media reports.

Flight attendants convinced them to leave the band alone, but the fans then demanded a refund and asked to leave the flight – something that would require the whole plane to be evacuated and go through security checks again to comply with aviation safety laws.

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The trio, who were all believed to be in their twenties, insisted on leaving even when cabin crew had explained the situation to them, according to the Korea Times.

All 360 passengers were therefore forced to disembark and go through the security checks again, delaying the flight by over an hour.

The fans were given a partial refund, the airline told the newspaper, although they were docked a fee. It also told Beijing Youth Daily that it had to pay the airport an undisclosed sum because the flight had been delayed.

The airline contacted the Hong Kong police about the incident, but they declined to get involved because no passengers had complained, Korea Times said.

The airline could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

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Wanna One had been performing at the 2018 M-net Asian Music Awards in Hong Kong on Friday.

The band is not the first to suffer from the attention of overzealous fans and popular groups often find all aspects of their lives and movements being closely scrutinised.

Chinese social media users have been known pay for information about stars’ travel plans down to their flight and seat numbers – information they then use to buy tickets on the same flights to get close to their idols.

Police had to be called to Terminal 3 of Beijing Capital International airport, the main point of departure for domestic flights, about 20 times last year because of incidents involving overenthusiastic fans, reported.