Chinese Passengers Confront Cebu Pacific Pilots

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines is launching an investigation into an incident at Kalibo International Airport involving pilots of a Cebu Pacific aircraft and disgruntled Chinese passengers. According to reports, a confrontation erupted between pilots and passengers after a Cebu Pacific flight bound for Shanghai was forced to return to Kalibo due to bad weather on March 28.

cebu pacific shanghai
Copyright Photo: Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG
Flight 5J-074 first departed Kalibo at 4:45pm on March 28 and was expected to arrive in Shanghai at 11:10pm but the aircraft was forced to divert back to Manila due to bad weather in China. The chartered flight was carrying 179 Chinese mainland tourists on board. The aircraft landed at Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 7:48pm where it remained for the next several hours awaiting weather updates and further instructions. 

When the weather did not improve, the aircraft departed Manila at 11:12pm and returned to Kalibo in accordance with Civil Aviation Authority protocol that requires aircraft with uncompleted flights to return to their airport of origin. The flight arrived in Kalibo at 11:59pm and passengers were disembarked to the departure area.

At approximately 3:00am, the Chinese passengers that were stranded at Kalibo International Airport saw Captain Johnny Tino and co-pilot Richard Avilla and allegedly mobbed and harassed them. According to CAAP reports, the agitated Chinese passengers "surrounded and blocked the two pilots from entering the terminal building."

The passengers were apparently angrily asserting demands for free meals and hotel accommodation. Reports indicate that the pilots were finally able to break free at approximately 3:40am when passengers allowed the pilots to leave after negotiating with members of the Aviation Security Group. Unconfirmed reports by Kalibo International Airport manager Cynthia Aspera suggested that Chinese passengers not only surrounded the pilots but also pinned their arms and refused to let them go. 

"They were demanding food and hotel accommodations," said Aspera. "The pilots tried to explain to the passengers that airlines do not provide free accommodation if the flight cancellation or suspension was due to bad weather but the passengers were insistent. It was also difficult to communicate with them because of language problems." 

Some media reports suggested that the pilots had been mauled and held hostage. However, Cebu Pacific's Vice President for Corporate Affairs Jorenz Tanada denied any mauling and stated that "the pilots are safe and accounted for." He added that the airline would conduct its own investigation into the matter. The pilots did not press any charges or file any formal complaints. 

Airport police said that the incident was merely a heated argument that caught the attention of authorities. Police reported that passenger Xue Weilang blocked the pilots after the aircraft returned to Kalibo as they were on their way back to the terminal building. He confronted the pilots because he was angry that the aircraft turned back to the Philippines. According to police, what made the situation worse was the absence of an interpreter while the pilots were negotiating with Xue. Both pilots and the Chinese tourist were later held by airport authorities for questioning for nearly 30 minutes. Airport police questioned Xue, believed to be the instigator of the incident, for being "arrogant and disrespectful toward the pilots." Xue was eventually released without any charges being filed. 

At approximately 4:00am on Sunday, an interpreter arrived and explained to Xue that the passengers could not travel to Shanghai with the current weather conditions for passenger safety. Airport authorities reported that the 179 marooned passengers were eventually provided with hotel accommodation by the travel agency that chartered the flight. The flight to Shanghai eventually departed from Kalibo on Monday, March 31 at 6:50pm.


13 comments:

  1. Last week the CebPac checkin clerk refusing to check in sick boy, this week another embarassment for this airline with penny pinching petty rules.

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  2. With 179 passengers, cebu pac shold have assigned a mandarin speaking f a. Well. . .What more can we add?

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  3. Those mainland Chinese should have taken a Malaysian airline.

    Ceb Pac. Needs to hire Chinese interpreter for that flight.

    Other than that, the majority still flies budget whether ceb pac or not.

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    1. It was a chartered flight by a travel agency. Nobody had a choice of airline. They simply booked a package with a tour operator.

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  4. Chinese people are so fricking rude. Bad behavior everywhere they go. They attack Philippine supply ships. I can understand if the plane was broken but the delay was caused by weather which Ceb Pac had no control over. So dumb! Ching chong ding dong!

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  5. Fuck those chinese! They are arrogant as if they own the worl

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  6. Airlines around the world do NOT pay for meals and accommodations unless the delay is due to mechanical problems. These passengers would have been jailed and put on a no-fly list if it happened outside of the Philippines.

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    1. Airlines around the world are not obligated to provide meals or accommodations in the event of a weather cancellation. However, that does not mean that they never do. It depends on the airline, the circumstances, and the airline's policy towards customer service. WestJet in Canada frequently provides hotels for passengers that are stranded due to weather. This practice used to be common in the past and I guess some people are still not used to living without it.

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    2. In the past? In the past, there weren't a lot of LCC. Some people? The mainland Chinese are just arrogant. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Not used to living without it? The Chinese never had the customer service mentality anywayz. Dude. Just don't ride ceb pac. Stop bashing them. Let the customer decide where they want to ride.

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  7. Generally speaking, most airlines don't offer hotel accommodation for weather. I took northwest and delta in the past. Both didn't offer. The Chinese went for the cheaper tour. You can actually choose the airline and hotel for the tour. The price changes accordingly. You get for what you pay.

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  8. The question is were these passengers given the information or explanation regarding the situation? This article mentioned that there's no Chinese Interpreter so how would the passengers know what was happening. Anyone on this situation without anyone from the airline explaning what is happening will be pissed off.

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    1. The answer is yes and no. Yes in english No in Chinese. But the real question is do the Chinese have the right to behave the way they did whether mauling took place or not? Nope!

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  9. The article also says the Chinese demanded hotel. I guess there were some sort of communication at the airport. The only fault I see is that ceb pac didn't have an in flight interpreter. Just because they were pissed off, no one has the right to mauling another person. Yes. I spoke to a ceb pac pilot. They actually hit the pilots. The Chinese settled it so they won't have to go to court- thus the pilots didn't file charges.

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