A passenger travelling with China Southern Airlines lodged a complaint following an incident that took place at Changi Airport. According to the passenger, a staff member from China Southern Airlines allegedly insulted him using derogatory language in multiple languages.
A video emerged online showing a verbal confrontation between the passenger and the staff member.
In response to the incident, China Southern Airlines issued an official statement, offering an apology and announcing their decision to terminate the employment of the staff member involved. The airline clarified that the staff member had been contracted through an external agency.
Passenger vs airline staff
The passenger, Mr Yuan, was preparing to board flight CZ546 to Chongqing from Changi Airport on Tuesday, May 23. While checking in, he was informed that there would be an additional fee for changing seats. However, the staff did not provide any specific information regarding the amount of the fee.
Seeking clarification, Mr Yuan approached the counter. Despite hearing all the staff members conversing in Chinese, when he inquired if anyone could assist him in Chinese, they purportedly claimed not to understand and disregarded his question.
According to Mr Yuan, a female staff member bluntly replied in Chinese, “Can’t you see we’re busy?” Mr Yuan pointed out that he was the sole person at the counter at that time.
A male staff member subsequently remarked, “I simply don’t want to answer you.”
Feeling aggrieved, Mr Yuan recorded a video of the conversation and alleged that the staff member referred to him as a dog in English, Chinese, and Cantonese. However, no video evidence of this specific incident has been made available.
Calls him a dog
The video recording captures the male staff member stating, “If you want to act like a dog, I can treat you as one.”
In response, a voice behind the camera can be heard calling the male staff member a dog.
Subsequently, the male staff member retorted, “People are trying to explain something, and you interrupt.”
Meanwhile, the individual behind the camera repeatedly inquired, “Who called someone a dog? Please repeat what you said earlier.”
The question was reiterated, this time in English.
The male staff member muttered, “Can’t even behave like a human being,” and proceeded to ignore the person behind the camera.
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China Southern Airlines Singapore apologises
On May 27, China Southern Airlines Singapore issued an apology through its official WeChat channel in response to the incident.
The translated statement reads as follows:
“On May 23, after receiving a complaint from a passenger who experienced verbal insults from counter staff while boarding a flight in Singapore, we launched an investigation and reached out to the passenger to express our apologies.
“The counter staff involved is an employee of a local ground agency service provider. During their interaction with the passenger, a dispute arose, and inappropriate language was used.
“Currently, we have requested the agency to refrain from assigning this individual to represent China Southern Airlines Singapore.
“We once again extend our apologies to the affected passengers and express our gratitude to passengers, the media, and the public for their attention and oversight.
“Moving forward, we will reflect upon the lessons learned, reinforce our service management, improve work processes, and enhance service provisions by external agencies.”