The civil aviation authority is considering measures to punish people who behave badly on airliners, said a senior official.
Li Jiaxiang, director of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, said the agency plans to include unruly passengers on a “personal negative credit list”, which will affect their future air travel. He did not elaborate on to what extent these passengers will be affected.
“Everyone must behave well while traveling,” he said on the sidelines of the agency’s annual work conference in Beijing on Dec 25. “Despite the recent scandal being caused by only a few passengers, it has strongly tarnished the image of Chinese travelers.”
His remarks came in response to a notorious incident this month in which four Chinese passengers caused chaos on a Thai budget flight, forcing the aircraft to return to Thailand.
A Chinese man and his girlfriend on a China-bound AirAsia flight had a spat with the flight crew over the seating arrangement and hot water. The disturbance escalated when the woman poured hot water on a female flight attendant.
After the crew demanded an apology, the Chinese woman climbed over the back seats, threatening to jump out of the airplane while punching the plane’s windows, according to witnesses.
The in-flight brawl forced the plane to return to Don Mueng International Airport in Bangkok, where the duo and two other passengers involved were taken away by Thai police. They were required to pay compensation of 50,000 Thai baht ($1,525) to the flight attendant, and all four passengers were fined a small amount of money.
The China National Tourism Administration later opened a probe into the incident and vowed to punish the passengers involved by including them on a blacklist.
Less than a week after the scandal, another in-flight conflict between several Chinese passengers took place on an Air China flight from Chongqing to Hong Kong. The incident was caused by two female passengers complaining about the noise of a child sitting behind them, which then turned into a fierce fight that almost forced the flight to return to Chongqing, Chinese media reported.
In an attempt to curb unruly acts by Chinese passengers, the Civil Aviation Administration has asked Chinese airlines and airports to publicize the level of behaviors expected from passengers.
Yang Xia, general manager of Liaoning Ocean International Travel Service, said misbehavior is very common among Chinese air passengers and most in-flight conflicts arise for “very trivial matters”.
Diao Weimin, an associate professor on aviation laws at the Civil Aviation Management Institute of China, suggested airlines should set up a blacklist and reject passengers with bad records.