Taiwan tourist accuses Hong Kong airline of discrimination

The China Post news staff

The China Post news staff–A Taiwanese tourist accused Hong Kong Dragon Airlines of discrimination for letting Hong Kong passengers switch flights while denying her the same arrangement after her flight was grounded by tire problems on Oct. 20.

According to the woman surnamed Huang from New Taipei, who was to board the Dragon Air flight scheduled to depart at 8:55 p.m. on her return from a Hong Kong trip, waited with other passengers at the boarding counter until 9:15 p.m. when the airline announced twice that their flight was delayed due to a tire fracture. Then several passengers from Hong Kong protested to the airlines on flight safety reasons and were allowed to switch to a Cathay Pacific flight.

The airline, however, rejected her demand to switch planes for similar reasons, she said, describing the carrier’s action as discriminatory. She and other stranded passengers boarded the plant at about 11 p.m., over two hours late. The carrier only compensated the unlucky passengers with a HK$75 (about NT$300) Starbucks coupon per person, which most found useless as the coffee shop in the airport did not have enough food prepared for the unexpected customers, she said.

The airline’s explanation that the Hong Kong passengers did not have checked baggage (and were therefore more eligible for transfer) was a lie because she heard the passengers talking about their checked stuffs, she said. The carrier staff conversed with the Hong Kong passengers in Cantonese deliberately to keep Taiwanese passengers in the cold, said Huang, who understood Cantonese.

”It is simply discrimination against Taiwanese people,” Huang said. In response, the Dragon Airlines said that it had not discriminated against any passenger and the decision was made according to regulations. The carrier said it will continue its current practice of allowing passengers with no checked baggage to switch planes in the future.