BEIJING (AP) — Chinese authorities vowed to severely punish Chinese travelers who threw hot water and noodles on a Thai flight attendant and threatened to blow up the plane after they became enraged over sitting arrangements.
China National Tourism Administration said Saturday the tourists disrupted the flight, hurt other passengers and "badly damaged the overall image of the Chinese people." It comes at a time when the Chinese are traveling more but also becoming notorious for rough behavior.
More than 100 million people from China have traveled overseas this year, more than any other country. For years, the country's tourism officials have been urging Chinese tourists to behave with civility when abroad, and even Chinese President Xi Jinping, during a recent visit to the Maldives, asked the Chinese not to litter and destroy coral reefs.
In the last incident, angry Chinese travelers uploaded photos and videos from inside a Thai AirAsia charter flight bound for Nanjing last Thursday. They said a Chinese couple berated a crew member of the budget airline before pouring hot water and throwing noodles at her. The flight returned to Bangkok and the pilot asked a group of four Chinese passengers to disembark. They were reportedly upset after being told they couldn't sit together and even after a flight attendant helped them change the seats.
In footage aired by China's state television CCTV, a male passenger loudly threatened to bomb the plane. He later said the attendant was scalded by accident during a tussle over a receipt they had requested for the hot water.
After the plane turned back, the captain and the crew invited the passenger to discuss the situation and reached "an amicable conclusion," Thai AirAsia said.
The Chinese tourism administration did not say what punishment the tourists could face, but the statement suggested that the lead tour guide for the trip be punished for failing to offer proper behavior guidance and that the tourists be blacklisted for bad credit.