(ECNS) - A number of passengers have been banned from flying for one year after their unruly behavior caused disruptions, according to authorities in Liaoning Province.
On May 7, Air China flight CA1886 was delayed for two hours at Hongqiao International Airport in Shanghai because 20 fans, who had booked the same flight as a celebrity passenger, pushed and shoved at the boarding gate.
Rabid celebrity fans have caused headaches at numerous airports. From check-in counters to VIP rooms, boarding gates to aircraft cabins, celebrity groupies meeting and chasing stars have impacted air transportation order and security.
The airline service did not have the staffing capacity to cope with the chaotic scene, and some passengers boarded the plane without checking in. It took approximately half an hour for police to come and restore order.
The plane, which was scheduled to leave just before 10 p.m., was delayed until after midnight. Further, when the plane was in the air, fans seated in economy class kept making their way to the first-class cabin despite warnings from flight attendants. Once the plane landed, fans blocked the exit gate again to be close to the star.
A passenger on the flight said she couldn’t understand why Air China still allowed the trouble-making passengers on board.
Data show that police had to be called 20 times in 2017 to Terminal 3 of Beijing Capital International Airport because of disruptions by fans, who numbered at least 50 each time.
Zhang Changsong, a police officer at the airport, said some 1,000 fans gathered at the airport in April to greet a celebrity, putting tremendous pressure on airport systems.
Beijing Daily reported that some fans even played a trick by buying economic class tickets at full price before securing a last-minute refund after meeting a celebrity at the airport. In doing so, the fans only lost about five to ten percent of the ticket price. Some showbiz agencies were reported to have sponsored fans to welcome their stars.
While enthusiastic fans were often blamed for the disorder, it appeared that authorities and airlines themselves were choosing to deal with the problem in different ways.
Since February 2016, the China Air Transport Association had added 400 passengers to a blacklist for their unruly behavior while traveling by plane. However, it remains unknown what kind of punishment they will face. An official from the association said it's up to the airlines themselves to make decisions.
Meanwhile, airliners appear to be reluctant to place trouble-making fans on a no-fly list. A manager at an airline said fans are also air passengers, so it's hard for airlines to say no to them.
The Beijing Daily urged airlines to help build awareness of aviation rules among passengers and not to tolerate unruly behavior for economic gain.