Two men are suing Spring Airlines for ~$8,000 after they were denied boarding off a July 28 flight from Shenyang to Shijiazhuang.
Why were they denied boarding? Because they informed the check-in agent that they had HIV. The company has a policy against carrying passengers with “infectious diseases,” but claims they don’t have a policy of denying passengers with HIV unless they make it “overly noticeable.”
I don’t even know where to begin with this one…
Via BBC News:
The airline’s president Wang Zhenghua said on Tuesday that the company did not discriminate against HIV carriers, and blamed the incident on staff anxiety, according to the AFP news agency.
But he also blamed the passengers, and said the firm would allow HIV-positive travellers to board their planes as long as they did not make themselves “overly noticeable” to avoid scaring other customers.
Spring Airlines’ website states that it has the right to refuse passage to those with “infectious diseases”. An airline spokesman told Caixin that since the incident, the airline has not turned away any HIV-positive passengers.
According to a report in the Fazhi Evening Paper the three men were preparing to board a flight to Shijiazhuang, which is south of Beijing, on 28 July when they were stopped by officials.
One passenger told the paper: “After we got our boarding passes, we informed a Spring Airlines official that some of us had HIV.”
“The official immediately rang up the Shanghai head office for instructions, and then told us the company has rules forbidding the transportation of passengers with HIV.”
Of course this all comes out of ignorance to begin with and is horrible. That goes without saying.
But I’m also puzzled why they informed the Spring Airlines check-in agent they had HIV. What am I missing? Of course that doesn’t justify the actions on the part of Spring Airlines, but I can’t figure out whether they were chasing a lawsuit because they anticipated the response, or is there something cultural I’m missing?