500,000 see video of hysterical Hong Kong air passenger

February 16th, 2009 - 7:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Hong Kong, Feb 16 (DPA) A video of a middle-aged passenger throwing herself to the floor in a hysterical fit when she misses her flight has been watched by nearly 500,000 people Monday after being posted online.

The three-minute video - which appears to have been surreptitiously shot with a mobile phone by a member of the airline ground staff - became an Internet sensation after being posted on the video-sharing website YouTube last week.

It shows a Chinese woman going ballistic after arriving at her departure gate at Hong Kong International Airport for a Cathay Pacific flight to San Francisco only to find the plane is about to leave and her baggage has been offloaded.

The smartly-dressed woman, travelling with a man who appears to be her husband and another passenger, at first runs screaming towards the air bridge and has to be held back by an airport security guard.

She then retreats and begins beating the desk at the departure gate and wails at dumbstruck staff before throwing herself to the ground, screaming at Cathay staff: “This in inhumane … what am I going to do, what am I going to do?”

As she flails around the ground, a suited supervisor at the departure gate helps her husband hold on to her arms and tells her “Calm down, calm down”, offering to make arrangements for her to catch a later flight.

The unidentified woman, who apparently spent too long shopping in the airport before going to the departure gate, continues to howl and scream furiously at staff despite the efforts of the supervisor and her grey-haired husband to pacify her.

The video was shot Feb 4 when the woman, her husband and a third person not seen in the video arrived at 5.05 p.m. the boarding gate for the flight CX782 to San Francisco - the time of the plane’s scheduled departure.

A Cathay Pacific spokeswoman explained: “All passenger doors had already been closed, and the crew was preparing the flight for departure. As the passengers had failed to show up on time, we had already offloaded their checked baggage to comply with the security requirements.”

“Our airport staff helped calm the female passenger and arranged for them to take a later flight CX880 that evening to Los Angeles.”

The next flight took off just a few hours later, although the woman appeared not to be aware at the time of her emotional outburst that she would only face a delay of hours.

The identity of the person who shot the video of the incident remains a mystery, although it appears to have been filmed from a staff position at the departure gate.

The Cathay spokeswoman insisted there had been no internal inquiry at Cathay into the posting of the video. “We do not know who shot the video or who posted it on the web,” she said.

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