Sunday, March 08, 2015

Dating show star criticized for Cathay Pacific cockpit pics

Ng Tsz-yan, a Hong Kong woman known for her appearance on a matchmaking TV show in China, has been criticized by internet users over photos and videos that she took from a jump seat in the cockpit of a Cathay Pacific flight, reports out Chinese-language sister paper Want Daily.

Although she has deleted the images and videos and Cathay Pacific Hong Kong said her actions did not violate its regulations, she has become a controversial topic in Hong Kong and mainland China again and widely reported upon by local news outlets. Hong Kong's Civil Aviation Department has also asked the airline to explain the matter.

On Feb. 26, Ng took flight CX465 from Taipei to Hong Kong and photographed and filmed with her smartphone from the cockpit seat, including a selfie, and uploaded them during the flight and while the airplane was landing. One of her captions said: "My flight was full. Even seats reserved for employees were all taken. Fortunately the pilot was so nice and even let my sat on the seat behind him! It is really cool to experience taking off and landing in the cockpit!"

Her posts went viral immediately and comments from internet users in China and Hong Kong included: "It must be so nice to be a beautiful woman"; "Beautiful women ride in the cockpit and the ugly ones are locked in the cargo compartment." Some also questioned if "any passengers can seat the cockpit as long as a flight is full" and "what if the beautiful woman is a member of a criminal gang and a martial arts expert?"

Ng first came into the spotlight when she took part in the matchmaking TV show You Are the One between March and May 2013 as the "most beautiful flight attendant" and paired off with male contestant Wu Jiang. Around a month later, however, she posted a photo of herself with another contestant, Chen Chujie, saying he was the man she fell in love with on the show.

In response to the criticism, Ng said airline employees and their immediate family members in good health are allowed to take the seat if the pilots agree and "if your immediate family members are a staff member of the airline, you can ask the person to apply for the jump seat for you. If your flight happens to be full and the pilot agrees, you can definitely do the same thing," according to the state-run China News Service (CNS).

Although Cathay Pacific said she did not violate any regulations, China Eastern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Air China, Xiamen Air and Spring Airlines all told CNS that their passengers are not allowed to take the jump seat even if they apply in advance. Staff of Xiamen Air and Hainan Airlines said the cockpit is a highly sensitive area. Only crew members on duty can access the cockpit and their access remains strictly limited, they said.

It is not clear whether Ng was still a crew member for Cathay Pacific and the Hong Kong airline did not offer clarification on this point.

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