26th September 2023 – (Hong Kong) Recently, a Hong Kong woman took to Instagram to share her experience of being refused help by a Cathay Pacific flight attendant in lifting her luggage into the overhead bin. She expressed her intention to file a complaint against the flight attendant, but little did she know that her story would be captured by netizens and discussed fervently in online forums.
The Hong Kong woman recounted her encounter on Instagram, stating that after the plane landed, she was unable to reach her luggage in the overhead bin as it was placed too far inside. She requested assistance from the flight attendant, but was met with a polite refusal accompanied by the comment, “You might need to find a gentleman to help you because I’m too short to assist.” The woman mentioned that she didn’t react at the time, but luckily a male passenger came forward to help her out of the situation. Infuriated, she questioned the flight attendant, “Aren’t flight attendants supposed to be tall enough to handle luggage? Shouldn’t you be helping instead of asking me to find someone?”
What angered the Hong Kong woman the most was that she noticed the flight attendant and her colleagues seemingly mocking her as she struggled to reach her luggage. She claimed that she overheard the flight attendant’s remarks and witnessed her colleagues looking at her and then at her skirt, causing her to feel humiliated. In response, she publicly shared the flight attendant’s name and expressed her desire for Cathay Pacific friends to be aware of the incident, even using hashtags related to Cathay Pacific and their official fan page.
Screenshots of the woman’s Instagram story were captured and shared online, triggering extensive discussions among netizens. However, the opinions were largely against the woman’s actions, with comments such as “She wants attention again,” “Princess syndrome acting up,” “She should post on Xiaohongshu instead,” “She thinks complaining solves everything,” and “Doesn’t she know how to step on a stool herself?” It should be noted that the woman has since made her Instagram account private.
The question arises as to whether assisting passengers with lifting their luggage into overhead bins falls within the job responsibilities of flight attendants. The Washington Post previously reported that lifting passengers’ carry-on bags is not a requirement for flight attendants. During the boarding process, their primary focus is to ensure passengers are seated promptly and to monitor for any rule violations.
Using Delta Air Lines as an example, its website states, “While packing your bags, please remember that flight attendants are not able to proactively assist passengers with placing carry-on items into the overhead compartments, with some exceptions.” These exceptions may include assisting passengers with disabilities, unaccompanied minors, and the elderly.
Similarly, JetBlue’s website has a similar statement: “If (the flight attendant) is unable to provide assistance and the item cannot fit under the seat, please ensure it can be placed in the overhead bin.”