Chinese air rage incidents: upgrade demands, pools of blood

BEIJING — Chinese police have detained a man over an attack on an airline check-in clerk that left her lying in a pool of blood and arrested two others who charged the cockpit as their flight was taxiing for takeoff, the latest in a growing tally of dangerous acts involving Chinese airline travellers.

A statement from the Civil Aviation Administration of China said two men aboard a Hainan Airlines flight Sunday from the northern city of Datong to Chongqing demanded to be upgraded to business class as their flight was taxiing.

When told to remain seated, they fought with a member of the cabin crew and a passenger who tried to help, then pounded on the cockpit door. They continued to kick and punch after police boarded the flight and had to be removed in handcuffs, the CAAC said. They now face criminal charges for obstruction, it said.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday a passenger at the airport in the southern city of Shenzhen smashed the head of a Juneyao Airlines clerk with a brass plaque. Photos on Chinese websites showed the woman lying on the floor behind the counter, blood from the head wound pooling beneath her.

The man had apparently been enraged after the clerk told him she couldn’t print out his friend’s travel itinerary without the man’s ID card _ an example of the often trivial matters to provoke violence. Perceived slights, flight delays, seating arrangements and even bad food have also sparked arguments, while other bizarre incidents include the opening of emergency exits on planes sitting on the tarmac.

Despite the apparent severity of the injury, the man was only ordered detained for 10 days, fined 500 yuan ($76) and ordered to pay 4,900 yuan ($745) in compensation, described by CAAC as the standard punishment for “interfering with the normal order of civil aviation transport.”

In a statement, Juneyao said it “strongly condemned all acts that harm the personal rights and interests of our employees. Juneyao will take all lawful measures to safeguard the legal rights of our employees.”

Hoping to discourage such acts and mitigate Chinese travellers’ growing reputation for occasionally being difficult and sometimes violent, China’s tourism administration has set up an internet site that lists the names of those involved in disruptive incidents aboard planes and trains or at tourist sites.

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