The Airline Issued An Apology For Removing Two Visually Impaired Passengers From The Flight, Citing ‘Safety Reasons’

The Airline Issued An Apology For Removing Two Visually Impaired Passengers From The Flight, Citing 'Safety Reasons'

Budget airline HK Express has issued an apology following allegations from two visually impaired passengers who claimed they were removed from a flight due to safety concerns, a situation they described as leaving them feeling “insulted and embarrassed.”

Andy Chui, 34, and John Li, 27, both residents of Hong Kong, had booked a flight from Hong Kong to Tokyo on May 22 and had informed the airline of their disability beforehand, according to a statement from the Hong Kong Blind Union.

The passengers reported that they checked in without incident and were escorted to the boarding gate as usual.

On board, they received safety briefings from crew members but were later asked to leave the aircraft due to safety concerns, particularly because they were traveling unaccompanied, as stated by Li and Chui.

“We felt humiliated and embarrassed. They treated us as though we were criminals,” Chui said during a press conference on Sunday.

Billy Wong, president of the Blind Union and authorized spokesperson for the two men, expressed confusion over the handling of the situation, noting that they had previously traveled alone without issue on other airlines.

Wong called for HK Express to review its protocols and treatment of passengers with disabilities, emphasizing the need for enforceable guidelines from aviation authorities to prevent discrimination.

In response, HK Express stated that due to differing judgments between ground staff and aircrew, the incident was escalated to management for assessment. This delay led to the passengers missing their original flight.

As a wholly owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific, recently ranked as the world’s fifth-best airline, HK Express defended its actions, citing adherence to standard safety procedures. The airline confirmed later that the passengers could safely travel unaccompanied and were rebooked on a later flight of their choice to Tokyo on the same day.

“The decision by the aircrew was solely based on safety considerations, and our staff assisted the passengers as they disembarked,” said KK Ong, HK Express commercial director, in a separate statement. “We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused to the passengers.”

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