Asiana Flight Turns Back to Hong Kong After Two Hours In The Air Because Someone Was On The Wrong Flight

Hong Kong isn’t having their best days in the aviation industry. Just a few weeks ago I hit close to an accident when a plane rolled back thirty meters from a gate at the airport.

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HS-TEP, involved aircraft in 30m unexpected plane ride

Well, today it seems like an Asiana flight (which I almost would have been taking in April, if I didn’t resort to Korean Air) had a mini kerfuffle when flying its 747 from Hong Kong to Seoul.

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Asiana Airlines Flight 722 Kerfuffle on March 16th, 2015

Via The South China Morning Post:

An Asiana Airlines plane with 259 passengers on board was forced to return to Hong Kong after discovering that a passenger who should not have been aboard was on the flight.

Flight 722 from Hong Kong to Incheon turned around in Taiwanese airspace after it took off from Chek Lap Kok airport, airline officials said.

The 29-year-old man, believed to be South Korean, was supposed to take a Jeju Air flight from Hong Kong to Incheon. It was not known how he got on the wrong plane. The Jeju Air plane was scheduled to leave Chek Lap Kok airport 40 minutes later than the Asiana flight.

The Asiana plane landed safely at Chek Lap Lok at about 4pm, with no impact on airport operations.

A police spokesman said they were investigating the case, which was taken as “a request for police assistance”. No one was arrested.

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Department said they were trying to learn more about the incident.

Former Civil Aviation Department director general Albert Lam Kwong-yu said he was surprised about the incident. He said there might be problems with the airline’s safety checking procedures.

Another former civil aviation chief, Peter Lok Kung-nam, said it was not a big blunder and there might have been previous incidents of a similar nature.

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Asiana Airlines Boeing 747-400

My immediate thoughts:

  • How the hell did the man get on the wrong flight?
    • The time was incorrect, as Jeju Air Flight 2102 departs at 1:55pm, forty minutes after this flight did
    • Jeju and Asiana have a different word length, so how the f*ck did the man get the airline wrong…
  • How did Asiana let him on the flight?
    • If they didn’t have a record of his name, they wouldn’t have let him on the flight
    • Rumour is that he switched boarding passes with a friend, but the boarding pass wouldn’t have the same name as his passport, which should be checked before passengers get on a flight
  • The flight didn’t need to turn back, as in modern aviation it isn’t that hard to just tell Taiwanese air traffic control that they have one of Jeju Air’s passengers

While this doesn’t change my generally positive thoughts on Asiana, the lack of the airline’s details (such as making sure everyone lining up is on their flight) makes me hesitant to call the airline a true five-star airline, in my opinion.

What are your thoughts on the incident?

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