A voice recording apparently showing Cathay Pacific flight attendants mocking non-English speakers went viral.
They appeared to tell passengers: “If you cannot say blanket in English, you cannot have it.”
The airline said it terminated the flight attendants after an internal investigation.
Cathay Pacific, the flag carrier airline of Hong Kong, has “terminated” three flight attendants after they were accused of mocking passengers’ English, its CEO said.
A passenger on Sunday’s flight from Chengdu, China to Hong Kong accused the flight attendants of discriminating against non-English speakers, Reuters reported.
They said the flight attendants complained amongst themselves before making fun of Chinese passengers who wanted a blanket but used the word “carpet” instead.
An apparent voice recording of the incident shared on social media seems to show a crew member saying: “If you cannot say blanket in English, you cannot have it.”
“Carpet is on the floor, feel free if you want to lie on it,” they added.
In a statement sent to Insider, Ronald Lam, Cathay Pacific CEO, said: “In accordance with the company’s policies, we have terminated three cabin crew members who were involved.”
It had previously suspended the flight attendants and launched an internal investigation, per Reuters.
“I would like to extend my sincerest apologies again to the concerned customer and also to the community for the incident,” Lam said.
He added that he would lead a taskforce to review its service flow and people training. “We will take this as a valuable lesson and strive to provide a more satisfying travel experience to our customers,” Lam said.
The incident sparked outrage in China’s state media. According to Reuters, the People’s Daily accused the airline of “worshipping English and looking down on Mandarin.”
Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, which extended its power over the financial hub with legal forms in 2019 that provoked widespread protests.
The city was first established as a British colony at the end of the First Opium War before control was transferred to China in 1997, but English is still an official language alongside Chinese.
Read the original article on Business Insider