Badminton ace Tai Tzu-ying travels in economy class to Olympics

TAIPEI (The China Post) — Badminton star Tai Tzu-ying (戴資穎) revealed that she traveled in economy class to the Tokyo Olympics on Monday in a flight arranged by the Taiwanese government, enraging many Taiwanese social media users.

Posting on Instagram, Tai sighed and expressed that she missed traveling by EVA Air, the airline she is used to traveling with, and the opportunity to sit in business class.

This year, the Chinese Taipei teams flew from Songshan Airport (松山機場) to Tokyo for the Olympics; however, unlike previous trips, the team of around 50 members was arranged to ride in economy class.

The post soon went viral with many Taiwanese angrily bashing officials including Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) who made a promise to athletes last year that they would be able to travel by business class the following year.

Tai’s father also expressed his displeasure and said he felt deceived by the situation.

He explained that when the pandemic first broke out, his daughter would travel by business class to tournaments in the U.K. and Thailand.

Now, for the larger-scale Olympics competition, his daughter has been bumped off to economy class, Tai’s father said incredulously.

He added that everyone’s physical makeup and their habits during travels are all different; therefore, the organizing committee should have notified athletes beforehand that they would not be able to travel in business class so they could make subsequent preparations.

Tai’s father claimed that athletes could have arranged their own flight to Japan, rather than finding out at the last second their seats were in economy class.

The charter flight was arranged by the Taiwanese government due to COVID-19 prevention measures.

However, as social distancing must be maintained on board, many athletes were bumped off to economy class while team representatives and head coaches traveled in business class.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) have since issued an apology, with Su promising to get to the bottom of the sudden change of plans when the team returns.