25th May 2023 – (Hong Kong) Cathay Pacific Airways, a Hong Kong-based airline, has fired three of its employees over allegations of discrimination against Chinese passengers. The company took swift action following the incident, which caused a backlash on social media platforms.
The incident began when a group of Chinese passengers on a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to Taipei complained about the quality of service they received from the flight attendants. The passengers claimed that the flight attendants spoke Mandarin poorly and were rude to them.
The incident quickly gained attention on social media, with many Chinese users expressing their anger and frustration over the alleged discrimination. Some users called for a boycott of Cathay Pacific, while others demanded that the airline take action against the employees involved.
In response, Cathay Pacific launched an investigation into the incident and identified three employees who were allegedly involved in the discrimination. The airline announced that all three employees had been fired with immediate effect.
The swift action taken by Cathay Pacific was praised by many Chinese users on social media, who said that the company had taken a strong stance against discrimination. However, the incident took a new turn when a Cathay Pacific flight attendant posted a message of support for her colleagues on Instagram.
The flight attendant, who has not been named, wrote in a now-deleted Instagram story: “I can only speak in English and Cantonese. These are my service language.” The message was quickly shared on Chinese social media platforms, such as Weibo and Xiaohongshu, which are predominantly used by Chinese users.
The post sparked a new wave of backlash from Chinese netizens, who accused the flight attendant of being disrespectful towards Chinese passengers. The flight attendant’s Facebook and Instagram accounts were also made public, with many users leaving negative comments and engaging in online harassment.
In response to the online harassment, the flight attendant quickly made her social media accounts private. Cathay Pacific also issued a statement condemning any form of discrimination and said that the company has a zero-tolerance policy towards discrimination of any kind.
The incident has highlighted the challenges faced by international airlines in serving diverse groups of passengers from different cultures and backgrounds. Language barriers and cultural differences can often lead to misunderstandings and conflict between passengers and flight attendants.