Date
20 September 2017
A taxiing China Eastern plane had to return to the gate after passengers opened emergency exit doors. Photo: Bloomberg
A taxiing China Eastern plane had to return to the gate after passengers opened emergency exit doors. Photo: Bloomberg

Chinese passengers open plane emergency doors, stop takeoff

At least two Chinese passengers opened emergency exit doors in protest against a flight delay as the plane was taxiing, forcing it to abort takeoff, police said Sunday.

The latest in a growing number of air-rage cases involving Chinese travelers happened early Saturday in Chengdu, Sichuan province, after a snowstorm delayed the China Eastern Airlines flight, AP reported.

A man surnamed Zhou opened three emergency exits to prevent the plane from taking off, forcing it to return to the gate, state broadcaster China Central Television reported.

Twenty-five passengers belonging to a tour group were detained for questioning. The rest continued on to Beijing on a different flight.

Zhou and a tour guide named Li have been placed under 15-day “administrative detention” for opening the doors and inciting passengers with false information, police said in an online statement.

The plane’s ventilation system had been turned off for 30 minutes during deicing work to prevent fumes from entering the cabin, China Eastern maintenance engineer Zhu Yun told CCTV.

“Opening those doors was extremely dangerous, because there was nothing to protect passengers from the force of the engines,” Zhu said.

The National Tourism Administration said it had ordered its Beijing and Kunming offices to carry out further investigations.

The names of all those found to have been involved would be placed on a “national uncivilized traveler record”, to be distributed to travel-related businesses around the country, AP quoted administration spokesman Zhang Jilin as saying.

Names can remain on the list for up to 18 months, during which travel agencies can decide whether or not to accept listed travelers.

Zhang said travel agencies are responsible for informing their clients about acceptable behavior.

China has the world’s worst record for flight delays, because of heavy congestion and tight military control over airspace. Cancellations, delays and service complaints spark frequent incidents of air rage at airports and aboard flights, the report said.

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