Passengers on a China Southern flight between Nagoya to Shanghai refused to board when they realized many of their fellow passengers were from Wuhan, the epicentre of the latest virus du jour.
Accented to fly (or not)
According to a report in the International Business Times, some passengers on one of China Southern’s two daily flights between the cities recognized Wuhan accents among other passengers and became antagonistic towards them.
There were 16 passengers from Wuhan ticketed to fly on this particular flight and some 70 Shanghai-based passengers. Upon recognizing the accents, the Shanghai-based passengers tried to prevent the Wuhan based passengers from boarding.
The incident occurred on Tuesday, 28 January 2020 and was enough of a disruption to cause a five-hour delay. Eventually, everybody boarded and got home after staff from the Chinese consulate in Nagoya intervened.
Manifestation of a madness
It is one of the latest manifestations of a madness sweeping the globe. At the time of writing, the death toll from coronavirus stands at 132 and there are nearly 6,000 people infected.
There are plenty of other contagious diseases out there that kill far more people. According to the CDC, influenza kills nearly 100,000 people alone in the USA each year. Measles kills some 140,000 globally every year.
By way of contrast, the infection and death rate in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, is tiny. That hasn’t stopped governments, the aviation industry, and many passengers from going into a right royal tizz over what is, in effect, a tiddler of a disease.
Airlines stop flying to China
Here at Simple Flying over the last few days, we’ve covered emergency evacuation flights, canceled flights, and airports going into effective lockdown.
US carriers, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and United Airlines have all scaled back and/or canceled flights to mainland China.
In a statement, Delta Air Lines said their decision to scale back flights was due to reduced customer demand owing to coronavirus. The cutbacks will run through until 30 April 2020.
Selective when it comes to diseases
When the pandemonium runs its course, it will be interesting to see who goes straight back into China and to what extent. Incidents like coronavirus can always be a handy excuse to “suspend” unprofitable routes.
I find it interesting that governments and airlines jump all over one disease and ignore others.
It’s not to say that coronavirus isn’t serious – it is. But no-one is going to stop you flying if you have the flu. The flu kills a lot more people. Why weren’t hose passengers from Shanghai earlier this week weren’t so concerned about who had the flu or any of the other diseases that are not in the media this week?