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Passenger blacklisted for flight delay complaints

(Chinadaily.com.cn)

08:16, July 19, 2012

A passenger found herself banned from buying tickets from the Spring Airlines after complaining about the delay of a flight she had booked through the airline, the newspaper Harbin Daily reported on Wednesday.

The passenger, who declined to provide her full name, said she had booked a flight from Shanghai to Harbin that was supposed to take off at 5 pm on April 30 but was delayed. The airline provided bread and bottled water to the travelers waiting for the flight.

But that did little to appease those among them who were angry about the ambiguous responses they said they had received when they had asked when the flight would eventually depart.

They demanded compensation from the airline, and finally received 200 yuan each at 4 am the next day. They then flew to Harbin.

On June 28, Liu tried to book a ticket on the airline's website and found she couldn't. She called the airline's service hotline to learn why that was.

She was told the airline does not compensate passengers, no matter what caused their flights to be delayed. Passengers who do receive compensation will see their names put on a blacklist and find they are unable to book more tickets through the company.

A public-relations manager with the Shanghai-based airline said the company has "a list of passengers whom the airline has no ability to serve for the time-being".

He said the airline began keeping the list in 2007 to protect itself from passengers who press for their rights using irrational means. He said the company hopes the list will prevent passengers who tend to overreact from causing further flight delays.

"But the airline is very cautious about this… and only those who have organized other passengers to extort compensation with the use of extreme means, such as occupying a plane, will be on the list," he said.

Netizens on Wednesday criticized the airline for keeping a blacklist, some even calling on air travelers to "put Spring Airlines on their own blacklist".

The airline, though, has received support from people in the airline industry and from a small number of consumers who argue that passengers already receive many benefits from being able to take low-cost flights.

Harbin Daily quoted an industry insider who said airlines are justified to establish blacklists. He said they should not put anyone on them without first determining if two conditions have been met. They should make sure candidates for the lists have been responsible for further flight delays or for some other unfortunate outcome and that they have the ability to fly to their chosen destinations using another airline.

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