By China Daily
Asia News Network
Beijing - Three people in China have been fined and placed on a no-fly list since the China Air Transport Association introduced a national system to blacklist unruly air passengers in February.
The trio, the first to be punished under the system, were banned from major airlines for "uncivilised behaviour", including hitting a checkpoint security officer with a can of milk, attacking airline personnel over a flight delay and refusing to switch off a tablet PC during a landing, the association said.
They will be unable to book flights with five of China's biggest airlines - including Air China, China Southern and China Eastern, which together operate about 80 per cent of routes in and out of China - for up to two years.
The identities of the offenders have not been revealed.
An editorial in the China Daily yesterday said that such blacklisting was "long overdue" and that the first punishments would warn other travellers to "toe the line".
"There is no reason for them to be respected when they do not show enough respect for others," it said.
Li Xiaojin, a researcher at the Civil Aviation University of China, said a blacklist system is necessary as conflicts over delays and disputes among passengers increasingly pose safety risks. "As China's civil aviation market remains immature, we need more safety education, as well as measures like this to encourage passengers to behave and guarantee safety," he said.
However, Qiu Baochang, a legal consultant for the China Consumer Association, said specifications of the blacklist system should be detailed to avoid infringements of consumer rights. "The system is in line with international convention, but specific conditions under which a passenger can be warned or blacklisted, and the procedure to inform and educate targeted passengers in advance, should be further discussed," he said.
The Chinese authorities last year declared 11 types of actions strictly prohibited on flights and at terminals, including creating disturbances at check-in counters, damaging airport security facilities, and intimidating or assaulting crew members.
Such behaviour has frequently made headlines in the country with the world's worst track record for flight delays.
In January last year, 25 passengers were held by the police after they fought with crew members over a bad weather delay and opened the emergency exits.
In December 2014, a Chinese woman on an AirAsia flight from Bangkok to Nanjing threw a cup of noodles full of boiling water at a Thai flight attendant and punched the cabin windows, threatening to jump out, in a dispute that began over seat arrangements.
In 2013, an official who missed two flights lost his temper at the boarding counter and went on a rampage, violently destroying two computers and attempting to smash a window with a signboard. China Daily/Asia News Network