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English>>China Society

Officer not a gentleman in flight fight

By Yu Qian (Global Times)

09:09, August 31, 2012

Army authorities issued a vehement denial after an officer allegedly attacked a female flight attendant on a China Southern Airlines flight from Hefei, Anhui Province, to Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, reported Nanfang Daily Thursday.

Colonel Fang Daguo, a military director in the people's armed forces department of the Yuexiu district of Guangzhou, is also a member of the Standing Committee of the Yuexiu District People's Congress.

After the aircraft landed in Guangzhou, Fang and the as-yet-unnamed attendant were both taken to the police station.

According to the attendant's Sina Weibo, the conflict flamed when she asked Fang and his wife to move their luggage, which was put in the middle of the aisle before takeoff. Instead, the couple demanded she move aside the flight equipment on the luggage rack to make room for their suitcase.

Fang hit her on the shoulder with his bag and the couple began to violently insult at her after she explained the equipment could not be moved. When Fang noticed the attendant was taking pictures of the scene, he furiously attacked her and ripped her uniform.

The attendant's traumatic experience was reposted 30,000 times shortly after she posted it on her Weibo Wednesday night.

However, the district's armed forces department firmly denied the incident when reached by the Global Times.

An anonymous officer at the department in Yuexiu said it was impossible that Fang hit the air attendant.

"Fang would never do that, by no means," he said, claiming that it was the air attendant who wanted to take advantage of this case to get famous.

Calls from the Global Times to the attendant went answered as of Thursday, as did calls to the media office of China Southern.

Li Xiaojin, a professor at the Civil Aviation University of China, told the Global Times that attendants and passengers are equals. If a passenger threatens flight safety, he or she should be thrown off the plane.

He cited an example that a couple from Shanghai was asked to leave a United Airlines plane early this year after they quarreled with an air attendant who moved their luggage aside for the convenience of other passengers.

Even if passengers are not satisfied with the service, they can never resort to violence, Zhang Qihuai, secretary-general of the Aviation Law Committee at the Beijing Lawyers Association, said when contacted by the Global Times.

"They should lodge their complaints to the airlines and take legal measures," said Zhang.

"I support the attendant's action in defending her rights. The air attendant is doing a job, not a tool for passengers to vent their fury on," Zhang said, adding that the Civil Aviation Law should be strengthened to regulate passengers' behavior.

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