It sounds super romantic, a proposal at 36,000ft. Instead, it cost a China Eastern Airlines flight attendant her job.
It started back in May. Roughly 30 minutes after the flight had departed, the flight attendant’s boyfriend went toward the front of the aircraft and got down on one knee. The incident seemingly lasted less than a minute, with the flight attendant in question accepting the marriage proposal. Now 4 months later, the flight attendant has received a letter stating that her employment has been terminated.
Neglecting Public Safety
China Eastern Airlines has alleged that the incident endangered the safety of the aircraft. It appears as though the airline thought that the flight attendant losing focus over the aircraft for all of a minute during a non critical stage of the flight was dangerous. This seems hard to believe, as if this was the case, then surely a crew member could be sacked for using the toilet. In that situation they also lose focus over the cabin.
Furthermore, the flight attendant didn’t really have a say in what happened. We can assume that she didn’t ask her boyfriend to propose on that flight. It’s unreasonable to expect somebody who is going through the emotions that come with a marriage proposal to say “stop that, not here”. There is however the argument that these emotions could have clouded her judgement for the rest of the flight. This however appears to be clutching at straws.
According to Chinese news outlet Channel 8, the airline also claimed the “private romantic behaviour caused turmoil among passengers”. While it may not be the case in Chinese culture, I’ve never seen a marriage proposal that has caused turmoil. In fact, most aviation proposals usually lead to the other passengers applauding and wishing the couple well. Several other news outlets have even reported “A passenger can be heard saying in a voiceover on the video that everybody was deeply moved by the inflight romantic event and even pulled out their smartphones to record the moment as a memory.”
Other Midair Proposals
This isn’t the first time that a member of crew aboard a flight has been part of a proposal. Back in 2016 a Qantas pilot proposed to his girlfriend during a flight. The pilot was welcoming passengers on board when he made the inflight announcement.
She’s travelling back to South America now to visit her family and I want to make sure she comes back to me in Australia. So now that I have her complete attention: Quieres casarete conmigo? Will you marry me?
Walking out of the cockpit with flowers and a ring, the answer was yes. Despite the captain having much more responsibility for flight safety than a member of cabin crew, Qantas took a rather different response to China Eastern Airways. The Australian airline shared a video of the proposal on its Facebook page congratulating the couple.
It is uncertain whether a public outcry may help the case of the Chinese flight attendant, but it seems she didn’t deserve to lose her job. What do you think about inflight proposals? Do you think China Eastern Airways was right? Let us know below!