Four mainland tourists who threw hot water and noodles at a Thai flight attendant after being angered over their seating arrangement and the lack of a receipt for their purchase will be blacklisted by the tourism authority.
The Jiangsu Provincial Tourism Bureau said that they had asked the provincial tourism association to blacklist the rowdy group that disrupted the Thai AirAsia flight from Bangkok to Nanjing last Thursday.
The bureau did not say, however, what penalties those on the blacklist were subjected to. The tour guide who led the group has also had their licence suspended for a year, the bureau said.
The announcement came after the National Tourism Administration said over the weekend that the group had “badly damaged the overall image of the Chinese people”.
The group had a series of confrontations with the budget airline’s crew members, according to passengers onboard the plane.
They were upset after being told they could not be seated together, even after a flight attendant helped to change their seats.
One male passenger later lost his temper when a crew member told him that change for his purchase – a cup of hot water – could be given only in Thai baht. He demanded his change in renminbi as well as a receipt.
When the attendant said she could not do so, the passenger berated her. His companion, a woman from Anhui, then threw the hot water and noodles at the attendant.
“The attendant burst into tears immediately,” other passengers said.
The chief attendant asked the Anhui woman to apologise to the crew member or the plane would return to Bangkok, the witnesses said.
“We could feel the plane descending, but the woman passenger refused to apologise,” they said.
During the stand-off, the Anhui woman ran to the back row and knocked against window, threatening to jump out of the plane.
A video shot by a passenger onboard and aired by state broadcaster CCTV showed the woman and her companion threatening to bomb the plane.
The flight eventually returned to Bangkok and local police asked the rowdy group to disembark, while the remaining passengers went on their way and landed in Nanjing at 3am the next day – five hours later than scheduled.
The group paid 50,000 Thai baht (HK$11,800) compensation to the flight attendant and was fined 500 Thai baht.
By the time the group of four returned to Nanjing the next day, their behaviour had made headlines across the country and beyond, triggering heated discussion on social media.
The group then staged a protest upon touchdown, refusing to leave the jet bridge at the Nanjing airport unless the airline issued a statement saying that the media coverage was untruthful.
They said the crew member had been scalded by accident during a tussle, mainland media reported.
Thai AirAsia said the company would not issue any public statement acceding to the group’s request.