Mon, Jan 23, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Passengers claim mistreatment, plan to sue airline

STAFF WRITER

Airline passengers yesterday listen to a Japan Asia Airways representative explain why their Saturday flight to Taiwan was canceled amid heavy snowfall at Japan's Narita Airport. The passengers returned to Taiwan yesterday afternoon and asked for compensation from the company, claiming mistreatment because they weren't informed of the cancellation for several hours.

PHOTO: YAO CHIEH-HSIU, TAIPEI TIMES

About 200 Taiwanese plan to sue Japan Asia Airways today for allegedly mistreating them at Tokyo's Narita Airport over the weekend.

The passengers said they began waiting for their flight home in the departure lounge of Narita Airport at 2pm on Saturday, but staff of Japan Asia Airways told them that the flight was delayed to 6:55pm because of heavy snowfall.

The snowfall forced the cancellation of about 50 international flights at the airport, leaving nearly 10,000 passengers stuck there overnight yesterday.

The delayed flight was later canceled, but the passengers did not receive the information until 12am yesterday, according to the passengers.

The company then distributed food, water and blankets to them so they could sleep on the floor of the lounge, and said that all the hotels around the airport were booked, they said.

One passenger said the airline had failed to notify them about the flight's cancellation in a timely manner, as his family in Taiwan had obtained the information at 7:30pm on Saturday.

"The airlines did not provide proper service to the Taiwanese passengers stranded at the airport, especially given that there were babies and one elderly passenger in a wheelchair among us," he said.

The passengers returned to Taiwan yesterday afternoon and asked the company for compensation for mistreatment, but airline officials refused, saying that bad weather was not included as one of the terms for compensation.

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