Korean Air ups penalties after K-pop fans delay flight

December 19, 2018
Korean air K-Pop penlaties
Photo: Facebook/Korean Air

A bizarre strategy by obsessed fans wanting to meet their K-Pop idols has prompted Korean Air to introduce an additional 200,000 won ($US177.39) penalty for people who cancel a flight after going through the departure process.

The increase comes after 360 passengers were forced to deplane at Hong Kong International Airport and go back through security after three fans of K-Pop group Wanna One canceled their flight after boarding the plane to meet the band.

Flight attendants convinced the obsessed trio — two from Mainland China and  one from Hong Kong — to leave the band alone but they then demanded to disembark , prompting the entire plane to be emptied.

They also demanded a refund, something they were entitled to do because they had bought fully-flexible tickets in three classes.

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Korean said in a statement issued Tuesday that it currently charged no-show penalties to passengers who fail to board ahead of departure time, after check-in or who disembark.

These varied according to distance but were 120,000 won on long-haul routes, 70,000 won on medium-haul routes and 50,000 won on short-haul routes.

“To reiterate, a fee of KRW 200,000 will be assessed as an additional penalty for each instance of a passenger who cancels their international flight after going through the departure process,’’ it said.

“Flights departing from Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines will be applicable after government approval.

The airline said it had seen 35 “misappropriations of low-penalty and penalty-exempt bookings” at Incheon airport after passengers falsely reported for departure and then canceled their flights after using the lounge and getting on an aircraft.

It estimated this amounted to hundreds of instances if all airlines were included.

It said the need to take all passengers off the aircraft and put them through security again led to unnecessary flight delays.

“Moreover, boarding cancellations and the following processes involve an unnecessary waste of manpower and expenses for both airlines and airport authorities,’’ it said.

“Through this strengthened measure, Korean Air expects to create a sounder customer service culture, especially during the boarding process, and provide more actual passengers with opportunities to make flight reservations.”