Cathay Pacific Apologizes to YouTube Temper Tantrum Star

Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on March 5, 2009

The woman who became a YouTube sensation after a video of her throwing a temper tantrum at the Hong Kong airport has received an apology from Cathay Pacific. According to the South China Morning Post (unavailable online without subscription), the airline gave the unidentified woman, who had a monumental fit after she arrived late at the gate and Cathay employees wouldn’t let her board, an upgrade along with the apology. I can see why the airline did what it did. An employee was the one who made the video, and Cathay had nothing to lose by appearing magnanimous. Still, as a BusinessWeek colleague in New York pointed out to me, had she pulled a stunt like this in the U.S. rather than Hong Kong she would have ended up in a choke hold.

Also, did this woman really expect she had some sort of privacy protection in the middle of the Hong Kong airport? Besides, the video of her bizarre response - in which she threw herself on the ground, wailing, and tried to rush the gate - has made her an international star, with five million people watching her online. She’s the biggest thing to come out of Hong Kong since the Bus Uncle, whose tirade on a public bus was captured on a video and became a sensation in 2006. Bus Uncle became a local celebrity. Surely Airport Aunt could milk something more from this episode than an upgrade and an apology.

Reader Comments

Bo

March 5, 2009 10:11 PM

She is lucky to have pulled off a stunt like that in Hong Kong. If it happened in Beijing or other mainland cities, she'd been in a gulag by now, which is exactly what she deserves. The Chinese don't tolerate such idiots to continue polluting the gene pool.

Mao

March 6, 2009 4:48 AM

Don't blame her for her fiery temper because she may be one of the millions of Chinese Empresses as the result of the one child policy.

Mao Ruiqi

March 6, 2009 10:38 AM

"Moral hazard is the prospect that a party insulated from risk may behave differently from the way it would behave if it were fully exposed to the risk. Moral hazard arises because an individual or institution does not bear the full consequences of its actions, and therefore has a tendency to act less carefully than it otherwise would, leaving another party to bear some responsibility for the consequences of those actions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_Hazard)."

kcyang8 vancouver canada

March 6, 2009 11:08 AM

Last year at Vancouver airport 4 Canadian mounted police gun down a first=-time Polish new immigrant(speak no English) with the taeser-gun,five times till dead

The Hongkong woman is very lucky that she'd not a Vancouver airport.

AY

March 6, 2009 12:34 PM

I am very proud of HK airport's way of handling this lady. I think it is a very civilized way to handle the a crazy situation. HK is a tolerant and free society, so as long as she did not cause harms to other people and property, she is free to embarrass herself in a public place, and off course now on the Internet. After all, you can't outlaw stupidity.

Jason

March 6, 2009 12:46 PM

nobody would argue that what the woman in the video did is right. however another issue here is whether Cathay's employee is professional to take vedio when sh/he is working. Just imagine when u r checking in, a beautiful lady behind the counter is busy with taking video on u with her modern cell phones. don't you think it's weird? of coz, things could be different if this video was taken by a spectator or the surveilance camera. don't let emotions ruin ur judgement.

USAman

March 6, 2009 2:19 PM

Try to do that in any cities in USA, she will be considered as terrorist and thrown in Gitmo now.

Tom

March 6, 2009 2:35 PM

If this happen in USA, an attorney will contract her now.

Dante

March 6, 2009 3:36 PM

Based on her accent, she's some spoiled brat from Taiwan. Too spoiled to realize that she's aging badly and no one is taking her bull anymore. Pity the poor idiot that HAD to marry her.

Dick Y

March 6, 2009 4:08 PM

"She is lucky to have pulled off a stunt like that in Hong Kong. If it happened in Beijing or other mainland cities, she'd been in a gulag by now, which is exactly what she deserves. The Chinese don't tolerate such idiots to continue polluting the gene pool."

I don't agree with this lady's behavior at HKG, but referring to the above comment, which you can look it from another angle: the communism regime in mainland persecutes its own people...

Ant

March 6, 2009 5:12 PM

Don't they have tazers in Hong Kong?

Dante

March 6, 2009 5:40 PM

Why doesn't it surprise me? Bruce Einhorn - the censor happy little fascist. Censoring all posts so that there's only one here. I hope BW advertisers realizes this. Because readers will soon realize not to bother with Einhorn monologues.

marve1

March 6, 2009 6:06 PM

Unfortunately, people judge others without having all of the facts. It is true that the video presents a woman having a tantrum because she missed her flight. It is unusual because she is a woman, not a child. Shouldn't that tell us something? The video clip of her tirade does not tell us anything about this woman: who she is, if this is a common occurrence in her life, if she suffers from autism or emotional disturbance, etc. There was no crime in what she did: she was agonizing over an event that for someone else would not warrant that much emotion.

Furthermore, in playing the clip to ridicule the woman, it also hurt the family. How unfortunate would it be to find out that the woman has a disability so that, in addition to coping with the burden of the individual's disability on a daily basis, the family would also need to cope with being shamed on national TV by the irresponsible behavior of Cathay Pacific. It is interesting that Bo refers to the woman as an 'idiot' and 'polluting the gene pool'. In countries like China, there is intolerance to human differences, and humans with physical, cognitive, or emotional disabilities are treated with disdain, as miscreants. A person with special needs does not stand a chance of getting assistance or even being treated with dignity. [China is still operating in the pre-enlightment era when it comes to its treatment of people with disabilities]. Knowing this, the act of having posted the video clip of the woman on YouTube and having left it there long enough for the news networks around the world to replay it over and over went beyond irresponsible -- it was repugnant. It was a shameful day for Cathay Pacific.

CX flyer

March 6, 2009 7:15 PM

I look forward now to hearing that CX has received her apology for acting in such a hysterical manner without good cause.

@BO

March 7, 2009 12:07 AM

Korean? pl stop comments like a chinese

yan

March 7, 2009 10:08 AM

what a horror scene it is! how could a woman at her age behave as a little kid?! She should try it out at the LA airport and let the local police beat her up!

Houla

March 7, 2009 10:19 AM

they should have just left the woman to the security. Thats what a modern city's Airport should do. The police would have tasered her home.

stupid idiooot

March 7, 2009 11:23 AM

Bo
March 5, 2009 10:11 PM
She is lucky to have pulled off a stunt like that in Hong Kong. If it happened in Beijing or other mainland cities, she'd been in a gulag by now, which is exactly what she deserves. The Chinese don't tolerate such idiots to continue polluting the gene pool.
---------------

you are an idiot. have you ever even been to china or are you talking out of your azz

Jason

March 7, 2009 1:10 PM

The employee's conduct is not professional if he/she took the video when working. don't let emotial ruin your judgement.

hilary Burke

March 7, 2009 4:23 PM

has any body cared to know why? was her (dad) dying and she was rushing home to say goodbye? etc.? I would think such behavior was brought on by huge loss of some type .. if not, everybody's rough treatment is deserving.

marve1

March 7, 2009 5:47 PM

I'm contacting you regarding the video clip that you posted on YouTube of a woman having a tantrum. Unfortunately, people judge others without having all of the facts. It is true that the video presents a woman having a tantrum because she missed her flight. It is unusual because she is a woman, not a child. Shouldn't that tell you something? The video clip of her tirade does not tell us anything about this woman: who she is, if this is a common occurrence in her life, if she suffers from autism or emotional disturbance, etc. She committed no crime: she was just distressed over an event that for someone else would not warrant that much emotion.

Furthermore, in playing the clip to ridicule the woman, it also hurt the family. How unfortunate would it be to find out that the woman has a disability so that, in addition to coping with the burden of the individual's disability on a daily basis, the family would also need to cope with being shamed on national TV by the irresponsible behavior of Cathay Pacific. The act of having posted the video clip of the woman on YouTube and having left it there long enough for the news networks around the world to replay it over and over went beyond insensitive --- it was irresponsible. Cathay Pacific can apologize to the woman with simple gifts like upgrades and place the blame on the employee, but it does not clear their culpability. It was a shameful day for Cathay Pacific.

And as for Bo’s remarks on BusinessWeek’s website, why can those be posted but my comments cannot? It is no secret that human rights are violated in China on a larger scale. And it is no secret that in China, people with disabilities are treated with lack of respect and dignity, as many in China share Bo's views: people with special needs are a burden to the state and, therefore, subhuman. If BusinessWeek can maintain Bo's comments posted on your website, then mine should remain, too.

YVR

March 7, 2009 8:48 PM

"If it happened in Beijing or other mainland cities, she'd been in a gulag by now, which is exactly what she deserves. "

If it were in YVR, Vancouver airport, she will get beamed up by the Mounties with Tasers.

Not long ago, an armed & dangerous Polish visitor with a Stapler. A Stapler, the ones you use on your desk, it can spit out staples, on a very good day it will maim, injured anybody 20 centimetres away.
According to the Mounties, he was as ready as rambo.
In the end this poor Polish fellow met his untimely demise because of losted in translation.
So Caveat Emptor, soon as u step into our Van Airport, u better behave, or else u get beamed up. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqdUhotL6Fw
http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Polish+immigrant+have+slept+airport+Witness/1220456/story.html

Bo, Our 4 horsemen at YVR makes Chinese looking more & more civilised.

pm

March 7, 2009 10:47 PM

Sorry Bo, I think you are the one that should not be tolerated by the Chinese. Yes, it is true that I laughed when I first saw the video. I laughed because I didn’t think anyone could behave like this in public. Then you make me realize how low I am. The lady was probably scared. She did not know what to do or perhaps she could not afford to pay for another ticket. What is happening to me? How could I enjoy watching her mishap? Is that what all these years of schooling I had that teach me to react like this? I wonder who’s the idiot, the one in the video or the one looking at the video? As a Chinese, I suggested you should take a long look at yourself to find out what kind of gene do you have. I am sure you will see the Chinese gene was never polluted because we do not have a good gene pool to be polluted to begin with…at least not until all the Chinese people become educated.

to Ql frm MJ

March 8, 2009 3:48 AM

QL this look & sound like U on video in HK airport
Did you get free upgrade to first class for this

RK

March 8, 2009 10:08 AM

I agree with Hilary and a few others. Too many people are rushing to judge the woman without knowing all the background information. In any event, if one stands with a camera at any airport in the world long enough, you do pick up some very unusual behaviors (and it is not restricted to any specific region of the world or any ethnic group). I would take this reaction any day over a quiet response and then have the individual go "postal".

Bridget

March 9, 2009 1:12 AM

Actually, if it happened at Beijing airport, everyone would stand around watching her (including police, security, etc), occasionally muttering to each other about whether she was crazy, who had authority to do something about her and speculating about which province she was from and whether that had anything to do with her bizarre behavior.
Eventually, someone would ask her to leave or she would tire herself out. She would storm away yelling and waving her arms.
An old man would spit on the floor and everyone else, taking this as final commentary on the incident, would go back to their own business.

I've lived in China long enough to know how it would play out.

(I'm an American expat in Beijing, in case anyone wondered)

Newbie

March 9, 2009 4:42 AM

Though I find it weird how a Cathay Pacific staff was actually filming all this, I must say HK is certainly a free society. And a free society as long as the person does not harm others and public property, expressing frustration in such a manner is fine. HK is so different from China. What the woman did may be weird and crazy, but not a crime.

The Judge of the Supreme Court in California stated that if 'we were to arrest and jail every weird person, then half of California would be in jail' and this was Michael Jackson's trial session.

Victor

March 9, 2009 6:42 PM

@Dante - From Taiwan, flying through HKIA to LAX/SFO? You obviously don't know much about flightpaths and geography.

Probably someone from Shenzhen or HK.

In any case, what if she was hysterical becuase going to miss a wedding or funeral or something else?

Chmpgnrose

March 11, 2009 9:30 AM

Cathy Pacific employee's conduct is not professional as he/she took the video when working. Why further embarrass and add more stress to the woman by filming her entire tirade?

If this happened in mainland China it would be a different story. Indeed, the woman created NO harm to others as she was having a hissy-fit for missing her flight.

Had this happened at a U.S. airport the police would issue a Taser to the woman. Attorneys would be lined-up to represent her case ASAP.

yo

March 16, 2009 3:01 AM

Refer back to Marvel
How do you know the woman has disability? She is perfectly fine. She just went off crazy, disturbing the public and others pax as well. And you would think that is ok in a free society? Manner and behavior in the public are important. If you think such behavior is ok in the public, then you may want to think more than twice before you have any child. DO NOT RUIN THE NEXT GEN.

Meanwhile, China does not grant as much human right by the book. Other countries, say USA, seem to be free. But are they really that free and free of discrimination in reality?

CXnycFan

April 8, 2009 12:17 PM

Regardless of whatever is brewing in the mind of this dimwitted and probably mentally retarded Chinese woman causing her to react in a very uncivilized manner in a public open area at HKG for missing her flight to SFO - if it were me and IMHO she should be thrown in the slammer and pay restitution for her heinous act of disgrace !
First of all, she was for whatever reason late for her flight and not in any circumstance that CX was causing this on her. Second of all, she got physical with uniformed airport officials and is a no, no in my books !
If I were one of those official, I would sue her sorry fat ass for assault to begin with.
Third of all, I wouldn't reprimand the alleged CX employee who took the video of this unspeakable act! I surely would embarrass her to the whole world to see on the way she acted in an outrageous tantrum worst that that of a one-year old !
I don't care what kind of mental problem she suffers from, but her ridiculous display is just something that cannot and will not be tolerated anywhere on this planet simply for the fact that she is a grown woman.
I totally understand all the things she said in Cantonese and still that does not give her the right to act the way she acted in the video.
I am just surprised that CX succumbed to her in offering her freebies when in fact that they did nothing at all this lady to miss her flight !
If I were in CX management, I would ban her for life from boarding any CX aircraft for her insane public display !
Can you imagine her acting like that during a flight her throwing a fit down the aircraft aisle and endangering others on the flight ???
The only way she would board a CX flight is being restraint in a stray jacket or being put in an animal cage and loading onto the cargo hold of a CX Cargo flight or she needs to get into a paddle boat by myself and paddle herself across the Pacific to SFO.
To put it simple, acts like this should and is not to be tolerated in any cirumstances by anyone anywhere in this world regardless of the reasons or motives behind it.
I view this sicko lady as coming across to having quite a bunch a screws lose in that brain above her shoulders to say the least....

CathayPathetic

June 24, 2009 12:35 PM

As an employee of Cathay Pacific I feel embarrassed that my Management gave her an upgrade.

The reality is this - The woman was flying HKG-SFO to visit her sister that was in hospital. Her claim was that her sister was dying and had approximately 72 hours before she passed away (The Woman's exact words).

So now this passenger is busy with Duty Free shopping rather than being the first person sitting in her seat and asking "why aren't the doors closed? Let's go, LET'S GO"

She was NOT mentally unstable, depressed, autistic etc. that others have written.

Others have commented that they feel the employee of Cathay Pacific was unprofessional in recording the scene. IMHO I partially agree with this statement. Unprofessional for recording it and posting it on YouTube, YES - but not unprofessional for recording it in the first place.

Our flights operate on time schedules that connect with other flights worldwide. We cannot simply expect every 'Tom, Dick and Harry' to come to the gate whenever they so please just because they pad for a ticket. The fact that you paid a full fare ticket does not absolve you from doing your part and be at the gate when you are expected to be there. This is a COMMERCIAL flight and there are operational constraints as well as timelines to be met, otherwise, the airline pays heavy fines for every delay after pushback time. The Airport Authority impose this worldwide as they too are losing money since the gate is occupied after the scheduled pushback.

The woman clearly acted as a spoilt brat rather than take responsibility for her actions.

In this day and age, everything is now done through litigation and the more proof the merrier - thus a recording.

I can understand Management wanting to look like they reacted in a positive manner by offering an upgrade and awarding her extra Asia Miles (so they look good), but I feel this only gives the impression that if the passenger acts like a brat, the Company doesn't want any negative publicity thus do whatever it takes to please them. It's almost like 'negative rewarding'.

Pathetic really because all this does is encourage others to act irresponsibly knowing they have a good chance to get away with it.

Bridget is correct in how she explained what would happen in Beijing. The same happens in HKG. The reaction is typical. You see it in shopping malls and restaurants almost daily every here.

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