China Southern Airlines' Singapore office has apologised and suspended a member of ground staff in Singapore, who was accused of verbally abusing and calling a passenger "a dog".
In a statement issued on its Weibo on Saturday (27 May), the airline stated that the ground counter staff was employed by a local agency entrusted by the airline. It said the employee used extremely inappropriate language and it has requested the relevant agency to terminate the employee involved. The airline added that it vowed to strengthen the management of service providers to improve the service standards provided by external agencies.
This comes as a video showing conversation between a traveller and the airline’s ground staff at Changi Airport has gone viral across Chinese social media. A passenger, who identified by his surname Yuan, told mainland news outlet The Paper that while he was checking in for his flight CZ546 from Singapore to Chongqing on Tuesday (23 May), he was informed that there was an extra charge for seats near the emergency exit.
According to the report, Yuan said while he saw several ground staffs communicating in Mandarin, he was ignored when he spoke in Mandarin to the member of the ground handling staff. Yuan said he felt insulted and asked the ground staff's staff number. The staff stood up and insulted him suddenly in three languages, describing Yuan as "a dog" and said he couldn't understand "human language". While the alleged remarks were not recorded in the video, the staff member was captured on camera saying "If you want to be a dog, I can treat you like a dog. That's easy."
A check by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE saw on Weibo that the incident has drawn mixed reactions among Chinese netizens. While some said the ground staff deserved to be fired, some said the video looked like it was edited and Yuan should upload a full version of the clip.
According to the Changi Airport's website, the airline’s ground service provider is SATS. MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to SATS for a statement.
China Southern Airlines is not the only airline company that copped flak for its internal staff behaviour. Recently, Cathay Pacific apologised and announced the firing of three cabin crew members who were accused by a passenger of insulting and discriminating against non-English speakers. This comes after details of the alleged incident during a flight from Chengdu in Sichuan province to Hong Kong on Sunday revealed on Xiaohongshu went viral across social platforms. The Xiaohongshu user made several accusations against some cabin crew members on the flight CX987, including some members teased passengers’ language ability by saying in English: “If you cannot speak ‘blanket’, you cannot have it,”, “Carpet is on the floor”.
Photo courtesy: LIHKG
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