HK celebs slam flight attendants for mocking non-English speaking passengers

Hong Kong actor Joseph Lee and songstress Maria Cordero criticised three flight attendants for discriminating non-English speakers. Photos: Joseph Lee/Douyin, Maria Cordero/Douyin

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd recently landed itself in hot water after three of its flight attendants were said to have disparaged passengers who didn’t speak English on the flight from the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu to Hong Kong.

According to reports, the flight attendants made fun of the non-English speakers when they mistakenly asked for a carpet instead of a blanket in English.

“If you cannot say blanket in English, you cannot have it...carpet is on the floor, feel free if you want to lie on it," one flight attendant apparently said as reported by Reuters.

The incident sparked outrage among netizens and prompted responses from various celebrities.

In a recent video shared on social media, popular Hong Kong singer-actress Maria Cordero said that the job of a flight attendant is to take care of passengers and tend to their needs, not to make fun of them.

“Those people have no morals at all. Looking down on others (for not speaking English)? Who gave you the right to do such a thing? Who are you? How old are you?” she said as quoted by HK01.

“Even if these (kinds of people) ask for a second chance, that won’t do. Fire them right away,” she added.

Meanwhile, TVB actor Joseph Lee also spoke up about the incident.

In a video published on TikTok, Lee called for the three attendants to reflect on their actions.

“Just because you can speak English well doesn’t mean you are superior to others,” he said, adding that he had never encountered such behaviour on a flight before.

The 69-year-old then posted a video of himself on another airline where he talked about the importance of treating passengers with respect regardless of their language capabilities.

He also praised the attendants on the flight he was on for their excellent service.

“Their service is fantastic. Even before I ask, (the attendant) has already taken the initiative to provide me with a blanket,” he said.

On Tuesday (May 23), the Hong Kong's flagship carrier issued an apology and stated that it had fired the three flight attendants involved after an internal investigation.

The airline also said that it does not tolerate any form of discrimination and that it is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for all passengers.

A hashtag about the apology was one of the top-trending topics on Weibo, with more than 140 million views, Bloomberg reported.

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