TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A family of three was livid when they were booted from the front cabin of business class after it was reserved by a Taiwanese shipping tycoon and airline director at the last minute.
Since local COVID-19 cases started peaking in Taiwan in May, there has been an exodus of wealthy Taiwanese flying to the U.S., where they can quickly obtain free vaccinations. This week, video surfaced on social media showing a family of three being told their seats were being moved to the back section of business class after a "mysterious big customer" (神秘大戶) booked the entire front cabin for himself.
The family was told at the check-in counter on June 17 that their seats on a flight to Los Angeles would be shifted to the rear section of business class. In a video of the incident, a family member can be heard shouting at a China Airlines employee and demanding that they be allowed to keep their seats, given that they had paid NT$600,000 for them in advance.
Business-class cabin. (China Airlines photo)
An aviation industry insider was quoted by China Times as saying that a business class seat on such a flight normally starts at NT$200,000, while a 24-seat package is nearly NT$5 million. However, when airlines sell such packages, "they will definitely give a discount."
China Airlines would not confirm the identity of the passenger due to privacy considerations but said that due to the pandemic, it does allow passengers to reserve entire seating areas or cabins. On Wednesday (June 23), Newtalk reported the "mystery" passenger was a shipping tycoon and airline executive.