Cathay Pacific, a Hong Kong-based airline, took decisive action against three flight attendants. They were fired for telling non-English speaking passengers to sleep on the floor of the plane, since they didn’t know how to say “blanket” in English.
According to Reuters, “a passenger accused [the flight attendants] of bias against non-English speakers, prompting criticism on Chinese state media.”
Inexcusable Prejudice In The Sky
Last Sunday, the plane departed Chengdu, a city in Southwest China, and was en route to Hong Kong.
The passenger who noticed the prejudice of the flight attendants, shared their observations on social media. They claimed some of the crew members openly mocked passengers in Cantonese and English.
Also, Reuters reports, “the flight attendants made fun of others for asking for a ‘carpet’ instead of a ‘blanket’ in English.”
One of the flight attendants allegedly told their colleague: “they don’t understand human language.”
The Airlines’ CEO Took Action
Cathay Pacific CEO, Robert Lam, said that after a thorough investigation, the flight attendants were suspended and then fired.
Lam insisted their actions weren’t in keeping with company policy.
He also offered an apology to the passenger who sounded the alarm, and anyone else affected. He said that more work would be done internally to lessen the chances of a repeat occurrence.
“I would like to reiterate,” Lam stated, “that Cathay Pacific takes a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to serious violations of company rules and ethics by individual employees and will not tolerate them.”
Cathay Pacific is trying to rebound in the years following COVID, and this incident puts a damper on those efforts.
Reuters writes: “Hong Kong’s flagship carrier was badly hit by COVID-related flight cancellations, border closings and strict quarantine measures for crew, resulting in drastic headcount reductions since 2020.”
China’s State Run Media Weighed In As Well
People’s Daily, a state-owned publication, blasted the airline for allegedly worshiping foreigners.
It added, “Cathay Pacific can’t just apologize every time. They should rectify heavily, establish rules and regulations, and stop the unhealthy trend from the root.”