25th May 2023 – (Hong Kong) Cathay Pacific Airways found itself at the centre of a racial discrimination controversy after three flight attendants were fired for making derogatory remarks about non-English speaking passengers. The incident has caused outrage among netizens and has prompted a response from public figures and celebrities.
The incident came to light after several passengers complained about the behavior of the Cathay Pacific flight attendants. The passengers claimed that the flight attendants made derogatory remarks about non-English speaking passengers, with one mocking a passenger for mispronouncing the word “blanket” as “carpet.” The incident sparked outrage on social media, with netizens calling for an investigation and for the airline to take action against the flight attendants involved.
In response to the public pressure, Cathay Pacific Airways issued a statement apologising for the incident and announced that it had taken disciplinary action against the three flight attendants involved. The airline stated that it does not tolerate any form of discrimination and that it is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for all passengers.
Despite the apology, the incident continued to gain traction on social media, with some netizens expressing their anger and frustration by sending messages to Cathay Pacific Airways’ staff through its official social media channels. Some even started a campaign to boycott the airline.
The controversy has sparked a response from public figures and celebrities. Maria Cordero, a popular singer and actress in Hong Kong, criticised the flight attendants involved for their behaviour, calling them “unprofessional.” She expressed her disappointment in the airline for allowing such behaviour to occur in the first place. Meanwhile, veteran actor, Joseph Lee, also shared his thoughts on the matter, revealing that he has never encountered such behaviour while flying with Cathay Pacific Airways. He called on the fired flight attendants to reflect on their actions and urged people to have confidence and dignity as Chinese citizens, stating that speaking English does not make anyone superior to others.
Lee went on to post a video of himself on a flight with China Southern Airlines, praising the excellent service he received from two female flight attendants. He commended them for their kindness and attentiveness, and highlighted the importance of treating passengers with respect, regardless of their language abilities.
The controversy has raised concerns about discrimination in the airline industry and has prompted calls for greater diversity and inclusion. Some netizens have pointed out that English is not the only language spoken by passengers, and that it is important for airlines to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone.