Korea culture has its fair share of attention in Hong Kong – our city singlehandedly has such a large part of the entire genre’s fanbase that Mnet’s annual K-Pop awards have been hosted in Hong Kong for the past four years. I don’t listen to K-Pop (unless I’m jamming to it as part of a band), but I sure do notice the extent of our fanbase. I figured I’d share an aviation-related example, which I found rather ridiculous, but isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things (well, unless someone missed their connection).
On Saturday, boy band Wanna One flew home on Korean Air after performing for the Mnet awards. A few fans managed to track down their inbound flight, and booked refundable tickets in first class, business class, as well as economy.
Korean Air Boeing 747-8 Hong Kong Airport
The fans got on flight KE614, and once the door closed they started harassing Wanna One for autographs and photos. They ignored the crew’s request to sit down before boarding, and they had posters with them.
Once they finally sat down, they requested for their flight to be refunded. According to airline policy, if you have a refundable ticket on you, you’re allowed to ask to have your seat refunded up until the door closes. However, according to Hong Kong airline policy, everyone had to deplane and be re-screened, resulting in the plane leaving an hour late.
Korean Air Boeing 747-8 Business Class (I’d say the band flew in first class, but Wanna One has more than six members, so…)
Apparently Korean Air is liable for compensating passengers for having them get off the flight after boarding, so they lost a bit of money there, in addition to their hourlong delay.
The plane was a three-year-old 747-8 with registration number HL7632, and was scheduled to leave Hong Kong at 3:25 PM and get to Seoul at 8 PM. It ended up departing an hour and 23 minutes late, and arrived 36 minutes late.
Where do I start?
First of all, K-Pop culture is a craze in Hong Kong. There are fans, there are dedicated fans, and there are people like these who will go to lengths just to get a picture with their favourite K-Pop band.
I condemn the four fans for wasting everyone’s time just for a few minutes of their own selfish pleasure. I’m sure neither Wanna One, nor the rest of the plane appreciated the delay, and it sure didn’t help that they ignored crew requests on top of that.
But imagine missing your once-a-day connecting flight in Seoul, and having to share with your family and friends the reason why (especially considering this was near Christmas). “Oh, the plane on our first leg got mobbed by a bunch of crazed K-Pop idolists, so we all had to get off the plane and get re-screened.” Imagine the reactions you’d get out of that!
What would you do if your flight was delayed in light of a similar circumstance?