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    May 20, 2015

    Passengers lash out over delayed flights in China


    DOZENS of Chinese passengers kicked up a fuss at Shenzhen's Baoan Airport last week, hurling meal boxes and bottles at the service counter of an airline and threatening its staff with violence after their flights were delayed, the local media reported.

    After the news went viral online this week, the boorish behaviour of the passengers drew rebukes from many Chinese netizens, with one proclaiming that "they deserve superlative contempt".

    "As you have chosen to fly, then you must accept that a flight delay might happen. Can thrashing people and smashing things help?" wrote the netizen.

    Wrote another: "A flight is delayed usually for good reason. Could one take off knowing there's a risk? Doing so would be irresponsible."

    The incident happened around midnight on Friday after nearly a thousand passengers at Baoan Airport were informed at about 7pm that their flights would be delayed due to heavy thunderstorms.

    According to a passenger surnamed Wang, who was flying to Sichuan province, everyone was calm at the beginning.

    But about four hours later, when there was no sign that the flights were resuming, a commotion began at the passenger service counter of China Southern Airlines.

    "Several agitated men and women were quarrelling with the airline's staff there," Mr Wang told the Southern Metropolitan Daily.

    "In general, they were asking for financial compensation. But some were complaining of hunger and demanding food. There were also demands for accommodation," said the passenger.

    At about 11pm, the airline delivered free food and drinks to the passengers. But by then, the quarrel had worsened.

    Mr Wang said he saw a man fling his meal box over the counter. More meal boxes as well as mineral water bottles and instant-noodle cups followed, creating a mess.

    Other witnesses said the "attack" started after about 30 passengers crowded around the counter and verbally abused the staff.

    Then one man climbed over the counter to beat up one of the staff, and was quickly taken away by police.

    There were also reports about passengers confronting airline staff at boarding gates after they had waited too long.

    Mr Wang said he did not get on his flight until 4am.