Korean Air to raise penalties after antics by K-pop band's fans

SEOUL • Korean Air Lines yesterday said it will raise no-show penalties after K-pop fans got on a plane only to take pictures of a boy band on the flight, then demanded to get off before it left, and got refunds on their tickets, Reuters reported.

Three Wanna One fans boarded the Seoul-bound Korean Air flight in Hong Kong last Saturday, ignored flight attendants' requests to be seated and instead took pictures of the 11-member K-pop band.

"The fact is there were passengers who falsely checked in on the flight to see celebrities," a Korean Air official told Reuters.

The band had been in Hong Kong to perform at the 2018 Mnet Asian Music Awards the previous evening, British newspaper The Telegraph online reported.

The three fans, in their 20s, got refunds on their tickets, excluding some penalties, but the rest of the 360 passengers on the plane had to disembark and go through security screening again, delaying the flight by almost an hour, the company said in a statement.

According to Korean media, the flight attendants had told the three fans that under aviation laws, the entire flight of 360 passengers would have to disembark and go through security screening once again, which would delay the flight significantly.

The fans insisted on getting off, and then demanded full refunds on their tickets. Korean Air refund policies allow this because the trio had paid the full purchase price, the Telegraph said, citing Korean media reports.

Because of the delay, Korean Air had to compensate the remaining passengers as well.

According to Reuters, the airline will, from Jan 1, charge passengers who cancel international flights after going through the departure process an additional 200,000 won (S$243).

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 19, 2018, with the headline 'Korean Air to raise refund fees after antics by K-pop band's fans'. Print Edition | Subscribe