China Southern Airlines Staff at Changi Airport Allegedly Called Customer a “Dog”; Airline Apologises

Following an incident at Changi Airport, a staff member of China Southern Airlines has been suspended for allegedly insulting a passenger. 

The incident occurred during the check-in process for flight CZ546 from Singapore to Chongqing on 23 May 2023.

A video clip capturing the altercation between the passenger, Mr Yuan, and the staff member has gone viral, accumulating over 140,000 views since its upload on 28 May 2023.

In the video, the staff member says, “If you want to be a dog, I can treat you like one”.

In response, Mr Yuan retorts by calling the staff member a dog.

Staff Member Insulted Passenger By Calling Him A Dog

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The video capturing the exchange between Mr Yuan and the male counter staff has been widely shared on Chinese media platforms, gaining viral attention due to allegations of insults hurled by the staff member towards Mr Yuan.

In the video, Mr Yuan can be heard angrily confronting the male staff member who allegedly called him a dog and accused him of being unable to understand “human language” in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese.

However, the conversation recorded in the video seems to be cut off, and there is no visual evidence of the staff member initially calling Mr Yuan a dog before his heated response.

The uploaded video only captures the ongoing argument, with the staff member suggesting that if Mr Yuan wanted to “be a dog,” he would be treated as one.

Mr Yuan can then be heard asking the staff member to repeat his words, retorting that the staff member is the one acting “like a dog”.

The video also records the staff member further questioning Mr Yuan in Mandarin and accusing him of interrupting him and his staff members from doing their job. 

As their argument continues, the staff member can also be heard muttering under his breath that Mr Yuan is incapable of behaving like a “human”.

Passenger Claims to Have Gotten Ignored by Staff Before Heated Exchange

Mr Yuan explained that the heated exchange arose when he approached the counter to inquire about any additional charges for seats near the emergency exit on the aeroplane.

According to him, the staff members initially informed him that there would indeed be an extra fee for changing seats. 

However, they failed to provide any specific information regarding the fee amount.

When Mr Yuan sought clarification regarding the fees, he claimed that the male counter staff who attended to him pretended not to understand Mandarin and ignored his questions.

This made Mr Yuan angry as he claimed to have overheard the staff members conversing in the language.

He further stated that a female counter staff, speaking in blunt Mandarin, informed him that they were occupied and did not wish to answer his queries until they finished their current tasks at the counter.

The male staff member then added that he “simply did not want to respond” to Mr Yuan’s questions.

Feeling discriminated against for speaking Mandarin and insulted by the staff, Mr Yuan decided to record the conversation and take note of the staff members’ details using his mobile phone.

China Southern Airlines Apologises For Staff’s Conduct

Image: WeChat

On 23 May 2023, China Southern Airlines Singapore apologised to Mr Yuan through their official WeChat channel and announced that they had suspended the employee involved in the incident. 

China Southern Airlines Singapore made it clear that the male counter staff was employed by an external agency authorised by the airline and has requested the agency to withhold the male staff member from representing the airline.

They emphasised that they were aware of the altercation between Mr Yuan and their staff and deemed the employee’s language to be highly inappropriate.

They shared that they were committed to learning from the event, strengthening their service management, refining work processes, and ensuring higher service standards from external agencies in the future.

Netizens Commented That The Incident Doesn’t Seem to Show the Full Story 

Despite their response, the uploaded video has since sparked further online discussion, with some internet users suggesting that the passenger didn’t seem to be the “victim” in the situation.

Image: TikTok (@singhotsg)

Since the conversation recorded in the video appeared to be edited and incomplete, many commenters expressed the need for the entire conversation to be shared in order to understand the staff member’s behaviour better.

Several individuals also speculated that Mr Yuan must have said something disrespectful to elicit such a response from the employee. 

They argued that most staff members in Singapore would prioritise their jobs and refrain from responding in a manner that could jeopardise their positions.

These doubts were further fueled by the footage capturing the staff member’s claim that he and his colleagues were attempting to address Mr Yuan’s question before he decided to interrupt and insult them, triggering the heated exchange.