Tue, Sep 25, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Pilot claims CAL illegally blacklisting him from its flights

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

A former China Airlines (CAL, 中華航空) pilot has accused the airline of illegally blacklisting him as a passenger until 2100, after he allegedly criticized the company.

The pilot, surnamed Wang (王), told the Chinese-language Apple Daily that he left CAL 10 years ago when his contract expired and now works for a South Korean airline.

However, while he was with CAL, Wang set up a blog and posted critical remarks about what he said were the company’s safety problems, which at one point upset the airline’s management.

He later took down the blog to avoid hurting his wife’s career at China Airlines, he said.

Wang told the Apple Daily that he was not aware that he was banned from CAL flights until November last year, when he bought a ticket using his Zonal Employee Discount, which allows airline employees around the world to purchase reduced-rate tickets on different carriers.

When he arrived at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) and showed a counter clerk his booking number, he was told he could not board the flight because he had been blacklisted by CAL.

He bought CAL tickets in May and last month directly from the airline’s Web site and secured booking numbers both times, but was again informed at airport check-in counters that he was barred from the flights, he said.

CAL said Wang’s continued comments on its handling of safety issues have damaged its reputation, so it decided to deny him access to its flights.

Wang said that he did not know what comments the airline was referring to, adding that he had only said that he had trouble resting one time during a flight assignment due to jetlag and needed to muster all his energy to land the plane.

“CAL did not inform me about the ban with any official notice. Nor did it respond to my letters of inquiry. Instead, it has investigated my personal information and informed all of its airport counters to block me without following due procedures,” he told the Apple Daily.

“Even people with a criminal record are entitled to buy tickets and board flights. CAL’s authority exceeds that of the police and prosecutors,” he said.

The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said government regulations do not cover airlines’ blacklists, but airlines are entitled to ban certain passengers if they have reason to believe that such passengers would affect flight safety, such as those on the terror watch lists, and this is clearly stated in airlines’ transport contracts with passengers.

However, this does not appear to be the case with Wang’s complaint, the agency said.

Officials would ask CAL to provide an official explanation for its rationale in barring Wang from boarding its flights, the agency said.

Consumer Protection Committee Deputy Director Wu Cheng-hsueh (吳政學) said that the airline should seek restitution from Wang if it thinks his comments had hurt its reputation.

The airline should not use such rationale as the basis for banning a passenger from its flights, he said.

Wang can file a complaint with consumer protection authorities, who would then request CAA’s assistance in resolving the dispute, Wu said.

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