Passengers open emergency exits on China Eastern Airlines flight

A Boeing 777-300ER jet plane of China Eastern Airlines is pictured next to a hangar at an airport in Shanghai, China, 26 September 2014. (AP/Shanghai Daily) Source: File

Upset by a delayed flight, at least two Chinese passengers opened emergency exit doors in protest as the plane was taxiing, forcing it to abort takeoff, police said Sunday.

BEIJING—Upset by a delayed flight, at least two Chinese passengers opened emergency exit doors in protest as the plane was taxiing, forcing it to abort takeoff, police said Sunday.

The latest in a growing number of air-rage cases involving Chinese travelers happened in the early hours of Saturday morning in the southwestern city of Chengdu, after the China Eastern Airlines flight was delayed by a snowstorm.

Angry passengers complained about the delay and a lack of ventilation, and a man surnamed Zhou opened three emergency exits to prevent the plane from taking off, forcing it to return to the gate, according to state broadcaster China Central Television. A total of 25 passengers—all part of a single tour group—were held for questioning while the rest continued on to Beijing aboard a separate flight.

Kunming police said in an online statement that Mr. Zhou and a tour guide named Li have been placed under 15-day “administrative detention” for opening the doors and inciting passengers with false information.

The plane’s ventilation system had been turned off for 30 minutes during deicing work to prevent fumes from entering the cabin, China Eastern maintenance engineer Zhu Yun told CCTV. Although the co-pilot had been dispatched to explain, passengers remained irate even after the plane left the gate, reports said.

“Opening those doors was extremely dangerous because there was nothing to protect passengers from the force of the engines,” Mr. Zhu said.

China has the world’s worst record for flight delays because of heavy congestion and tight military control over airspace. Cancellations, delays and service complaints spark frequent incidents of air rage at airports and aboard flights, including those to and from foreign destinations. Brawls between passengers and attacks on crew are often filmed and posted online.

China’s National Tourism Administration said it fully supported the police action and said it had ordered its Beijing and Kunming offices to carry out further investigations, suggesting more passengers could be implicated.

The names of all those found to have been involved would be placed on a “national uncivilized traveler record,” to be distributed to travel related businesses around the country, administration spokesman Zhang Jilin said. Names can remain on such lists for up to 18 months, during which travel agencies can decide whether or not to accept listed travelers.

Mr. Zhang said travel agencies were responsible for informing their clients about acceptable behavior.

Source AP

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