Passengers protest Shanghai Airlines' delayed flight with 'sit-in'
The China Post news staff
June 15, 2009, 9:37 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- More than 100 passengers aboard a Shanghai Airlines flight from China refused to get off the plane for half an hour after touching down at the Songshan Airport in Taipei City yesterday to protest a one-day delay in the flight.
The FM80Y flight with over 200 passengers landed at the airport at 10:30 a.m. in the morning but 120 people refused to leave their seats.
One protester said they were scheduled to arrive in Taipei at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday.
However, the Shanghai Airlines jet turned back when approaching the airport, citing the bad weather conditions there.
Executives of the airline only informed the passengers of the decision at midnight to cancel the flight.
The passengers said the air carrier, based in Shanghai, was the only one to cancel a flight to either Songshan Airport in Taipei City or to Taoyuan International Airport in northern Taoyuan County.
They questioned why the pilot did not land at Taoyuan airport after he decided not to touch down in Taipei.
The passengers complained about the service attitude of Shanghai Airlines and refused to get off the plane. They also demanded compensation from the air carrier.
Following a 30-minute delay, officials from the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) managed to persuade the protesting passengers to leave the plane at 11:12 a.m.
The officials said the customers' complaints should be settled between the airline and the passengers.
Upon learning of this incident, the first since the launch of direct chartered flights across the Taiwan Strait in mid-2008, officials handling Taiwan affairs in Shanghai promised to start an investigation and help settle the dispute.
The passengers aboard the flight included mostly Taiwanese passengers returning from Shanghai and Chinese tourists on sightseeing trips here, according to sources familiar with the incident.