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Singapore Airport Ground Agent Barred From Working China Southern Flights in Latest Discrimination Row Involving Chinese Passengers

Singapore Airport Ground Agent Barred From Working China Southern Flights in Latest Discrimination Row Involving Chinese Passengers

China Southern has barred a ground agent at Singapore Airport from working its flights after he allegedly called a passenger a ‘dog’ in a row over seat assignment charges. The incident occurred just a week after Cathay Pacific fired three of its flight attendants in a separate discrimination row involving a mainland Chinese passenger.

In the latest incident, the passenger claims the ground agent initially said he didn’t speak Mandarin before using the language to scold the passenger after he questioned a fee he was quoted to sit in an emergency exit row with extra legroom.

The exchange took place at Singapore Airport on May 23 when the passenger was checking in for a flight to Chongqing. The ground agent allegedly ignored when the passenger when he first started speaking in Mandarin and then claimed he didn’t speak the language.

But when the passenger persisted and asked to make a complaint, the ground agent allegedly stood up and started to scold him, saying in Mandarin: “If you want to be a dog, I can treat you like one … We’re explaining things and you just chimed in.”

China Southern has since apologized to the passenger and said that the contracted ground agent will no longer be permitted to work its flights.

A spokesperson for the airline described the ground agent’s language as “highly inappropriate,” although the  Guangzhou-based carrier admitted that there are fees to sit in extra legroom seats.

The incident highlights the apparent tension between mainland Chinese passengers and some of their closest neighbours following the lifting of pandemic travel restrictions.

Last week, Cathay Pacific fired three flight attendants in a high-profile discrimination uproar in which crew members apparently mocked mainland Chinese passengers on a Chengdu to Hong Kong flight for their lack of English proficiency.

When one of the passengers attempted to ask for a blanket in English, they accidentally asked for a ‘carpet’, prompting the flight attendant to joke that if they wanted a carpet, then they should lie on the floor.

One of the flight attendants also allegedly told the passenger that they couldn’t have a blanket unless they used the correct word.

Cathay Pacific initially suspended the flight attendants after a recording of the incident went viral on Chinese social. media before terminating them just hours later as the incident became increasingly politically charged.

The row resurfaced a long-held view that Cathay Pacific staffers view mainland Chinese passengers with a certain level of disdain, although the airline’s flight attendant union says its members treat all passengers with respect.

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