This might be the most absurd way for an airline’s ground staff to get into trouble, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me laugh. A passenger was flying on a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to Taipei, and was carrying 20 live hairy crabs. He was stopped at customs in Taipei, because it’s illegal to bring raw seafood onto the island.
According to Apple Daily Taiwan (site in Chinese), the passenger, a Marco Polo Club Diamond member, reached out to a Cathay Pacific ground staff at the baggage claim area. The agent then took him to the lounge—located at the Departures area—to ask for the kitchen’s assistance. The kitchen refused, but the agent found a restaurant that was willing to help. An hour later, all 20 crabs were cooked, and the passenger was allowed to enter Taiwan “legally.”
The employee is now in some hot water (ahem…sorry) with authorities, because s/he brought the passenger from Arrivals to Departures without going through proper channels. Taipei’s Aviation Police Bureau has launched an investigation into the matter, and may impose penalty on the staff member and on Cathay Pacific.
Cathay Pacific confirmed the incident, and said that the employee’s action was inappropriate. They acknowledged that they tell employees to “do everything they can to fulfill Diamond members’ requests.” However, the employee will likely be still be punished for breaking the law.
According to South China Morning Post, some other employees are sympathetic to the agent.
Cathay requires us to treat every passenger with sincerity, especially ‘diamond’ members. We have to greet them and introduce ourselves on board every flight. The ground staff member might have misinterpreted what the company required of us. I don’t think the staff member should be punished because the company places emphasis on the loyalty programme, which gives us unnecessary stress. The employee was just inexperienced.