Cathay Pacific apologises for staff mocking non-English speakers on flight

Photo Courtesy of Flickr

Cathay Pacific Airways issued an apology following allegations of discrimination against non-English speakers by its flight attendants. The accusations surfaced in a viral post on Chinese social media, causing widespread concern and prompting the airline to take action.

The incident occurred on flight CX987, travelling from Chengdu in southwestern China to Hong Kong. In response, Cathay Pacific suspended the flight attendants involved and initiated an internal investigation. The airline stated that any confirmed violations of its rules and professional ethics through “inappropriate words and deeds” would be met with serious consequences.

A passenger on the Chengdu to Hong Kong flight claimed in an online post that the flight attendants ridiculed passengers in English and Cantonese. They allegedly mocked others who asked for a carpet instead of a blanket in English, reported Bangkok Post.

The passenger shared a recording in which a flight attendant supposedly said…

“If you cannot say blanket in English, you cannot have it … carpet is on the floor, feel free if you want to lie on it.” While the authenticity of the clip could not be verified by Reuters, it sparked significant criticism on social media.

As Hong Kong’s flagship carrier, Cathay Pacific has been working to rebuild its reputation in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The airline has suffered greatly due to Covid-related flight cancellations, border closures, and stringent quarantine measures for crew members, resulting in substantial staff reductions since 2020.

There have been several controversial incidents on flights this year from fights to sexual assault.

Last month, the lawyer of a Swedish man arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a member of the cabin crew on a Bangkok to Mumbai flight claims he has mental health problems and did not mean to touch the woman.

Klas Erik Harald Jonas Westberg reportedly molested a stewardess on IndiGo flight 6E-1052 from Thailand to India on Thursday, the Indian Express reported. He was arrested by Mumbai Police once the aeroplane touched down and passengers disembarked.

The Swedish man became unruly as the cabin crew began distributing the meals. Read more about unruly flights and passengers here.

World News

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With a Bachelor's Degree in English, Jenn has plenty of experience writing and editing on different topics. After spending many years teaching English in Thailand, Jenn has come to love writing about Thai culture and the experience of being an ex-pat in Thailand. During long holidays, she travels to North of Thailand just to have Khao Soi!