Airline passenger behaviour

By | Category: Travel news, Travel rumblings

Usually I can sympathise when passengers become upset and angry when problems occur. I can even understand that sometimes frustration may turn into aggression against airline staff when it is believed that the airline is dragging their heels in sorting problems out. But I think passengers in an incident in Shanghai were downright unreasonable if a story in the Sydney Morning Herald is to be believed.
Last Friday – according to SMH – a Jetstar (an Australian no-frills airline owned by Qantas) was on a flight from Melbourne to Beijing. The flight was diverted to Shanghai due to fog and passengers disembarked. One inside the arrivals area, the crew was “held hostage” (the words of the SMH) because passengers feared they would be left there.
Why did they think this? Is this a usual occurrence in Beijing? As far as I can check, it isn’t. One previous flight some months ago did have passengers left there for 3 days but that was unusual and wasn’t best handled by the airline in question. Could it have been that some passengers on the Jetstar flight were also passengers on the other one too?
But Jetstar offered a hotel for the night and a flight out when the fog lifted. Obviously there would have to be a different crew as their allotted flight hours would have expired. The ground staff spoke Australian as well as fluent mandarin as did the flight cabin manager so communication wasn’t a problem. Passengers didn’t trust the answers from the cabin crew according to SMH and police had to be called. Eventually, passengers were booked onto other flights, trains and other means.
So what does this tell us? The ground staff and the Jetstar crew seemed to have done what was expected. It is the passengers who seem unruly. What made them think they would be dumped there? I have been in similar situations in places as diverse as Karachi and Hong Kong as well as Orlando and Detroit and I saw no behaviour like this. People on the north- eastern seaboard of the US are facing this at the moment just as those of who tried to fly in the volcanic eruption shutdown eighteen months ago had to face that. Passengers accepted that conditions were outside the control of the crew and made the best of it.
May be there is something about this story that has, as yet, not come out. Because if it is absolutely true and all the facts are known, the behaviour of passengers is to be deplored.

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