Cathay Pacific: Want Free Stuff? Throw An Airport Tantrum

from the adverse-selection dept

About a month ago, somebody posted a video on YouTube of a woman flipping out at the Hong Kong airport after missing her flight. Apparently the person that recorded the woman's tantrum was an employee of the airline Cathay Pacific, and the airline has now disciplined the worker and thrown a bunch of free stuff at the woman. On one hand, it's easy to see why the company could feel the need to apologize, since the woman suffered some pretty extreme notoriety, thanks to the video's 5 million views. But on the other, couldn't this action tacitly encourage this sort of tantrum and disruptive behavior by rewarding it with free travel? Had a person who wasn't an airline employee recorded the outburst, perhaps the outcome would have been a bit different, but Cathay Pacific seems to have given the green light to people to flip out in hopes of getting some free stuff. This wouldn't be the first time such a video has had an effect in Hong Kong: the well-known "Bus Uncle" video from a few years ago caused people there to examine stress and public behavior in its society.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    R. Miles, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 7:34am

    I throw tantrums here all the time.

    Where the hell is my free stuff, Techdirt?

    Never saw the video, but heard about it. This follow-up is astounding, but it's also something a business needs to do given its "reputation" was partially assaulted by this idiotic woman.

    Too bad they didn't jettison her ass at 30,000 ft.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    AlexC, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 7:43am

    No matter how disruptive and rude customers are, filming them is a big no-no. They rewarded her hoping she won't try to sue their asses off, not based on the merit of her complaint.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    :Lobo Santo, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 7:44am

    Re: I throw tantrums here all the time.

    "Too bad they didn't jettison her ass at 30,000 ft."

    Maybe that's why they gave her free travel... perhaps on a private plane...?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Dewey, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 8:07am

    Security video

    If the company had mounted the camera above the service desk for security purposes I think they'd be like many other companies. There's not a problem with that is there? Why does it matter that a company rep was using a handheld? I would think that the videotape would have protected the security guard or company official that was trying to deal with her if she had injured herself and then later claimed the employee did it. The fact that it ended up on YouTube is really the problem -- not that the video was made. At least I hope that's the case.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 8:07am

    then i seen this on headline news .....great, the airlines give her stuff and apologize for a employee and by doing so that put it on national news, you got to love the irony.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 8:25am


    Subtitled version of the bus uncle video for those rusty on their Cantonese.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    ehrichweiss, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 8:43am

    Re: Security video

    Because security video isn't supposed to be released to the general public for a variety of reasons; to avoid being sued is one of them. They only release security video to the public when someone has obviously done something wrong and they need help in identifying and/or locating them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    You never know, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 12:03pm

    Didn't some lady get beat and eventually died from throwing a tantrum in an airport a few years age? I think I will walk thank you....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 2:00pm

    to follow up w/ details

    factual background// i know someone who knows the family and what actually happened was they had checked into the business class lounge. so they had the boarding passes already. they arrived at the gate before boarding calls came out. elderly gentleman in their party became ill from something served at the lounge. the ground staff instructed the rest of party to wait for him, assured them they would be seated, and refused to allow them to board w/out him.

    ultimately, the third individual came around just as they made the last call. there were still people boarding the plane, but they were refused entrance. their luggage had already been checked in. so they were forced to miss their flight and a subsequent business meeting that was scheduled the next day or so. at least that's what i've heard.

    legally speaking, recording is fine, but publishing is a different matter. moreover, from an post 9011 FAA policy standpoint, it is against the law to have airplane luggage loaded onto a flight w/out the passenger on board.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 2:20pm


    Was this a public space? Yes? Ok, then she has no right not to be filmed there.

    This kind of entitlement attitude should not be rewarded:
    -- I was filmed acting very immaturely and could not control myself or communicate appropriately to resolve the issue
    -- I do not know how to express my needs and feelings
    ==> because I have caused a scene here I should be given free stuff to make up for my suffering

    This is simply absurd. What she should be given is a free trip out the front of the airport door, carried there by the security guards.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Easily Amused, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 2:27pm

    Re: to follow up w/ details

    I'm sorry but that explanation doesn't fit at all with the video context. I would also refrain from using the term "factual background" when referring to information gleaned from a friend of a friend of the family that was involved in an incident in a foreign country.

    The translations I have found (that aren't jokes or bad memes) support the original Aussie AP release information found here:

    So the woman's bags were already offloaded and she was only delayed by a couple hours (due to her being late enough to warrant them taking her bags off the plane).

    Read more, post less...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Eric the Grey, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 3:18pm

    Shouldn't surprise anyone

    Shouldn't surprise anyone who works retail...

    Companies regularly give in to whiny, self-indulgent twats like her for the stupidest reasons, usually making the poor folks who are behind the counter look foolish in the process, even if all they did was follow company rules.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    Allen (profile), Mar 7th, 2009 @ 7:07pm

    I cant believe the number of commenters that seem to think that there was nothing wrong in an employee filming and releasing this. Cathay saved themselves a bundle in court costs.

    No doubt a firmly worded memo was circulated and whoever was responsible disciplined/dismissed. There maybe some fools that are willing to embarrass themselves on a global scale in the hope of a free ticket, but it will be a long time before an employee is stupid enough to record it.

    You can count on some fellow traveler to spread the goodness instead.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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