Fight on Air Asia flight AK897 from Chiang Mai to Kuala Lumpur

Sunday, 15 April 2007 2:30 PM Malaysian Time on board AK897 somewhere in Thailand airspace

I was on board on my return flights from Chiang Mai to KL after my trip to SipSongPanNa in China. After meals are served (or rather sold) and consumed, I walked towards the back of the plane for a call-of-nature break. I will normally strike a conversation with the flight attendance and get a chance to check on the “outside” food (Air Asia has a no-outside food policy for the passenger although it is rarely enforced) brought in and consumed by the flight attendants. I like to tease them that they break the company rules.

A male cabin crew asked him if I am traveling with the 2 large tour groups. I told him that I was backpacking from Chiang Mai to Laos and China and not part of the group. He complained to me that he always encounters problems with Macau and Indonesian sectors as the passenger can be quite rough. These groups are also quite rough. As I have just came back from the SipSongPanNa trip and met with so many type of characters, I told him generally the Chinese generally spend more time developing their wealth and spend less on developing their own and children characters.

Malaysia is a melting pot of 3 main ethnic groups and the government is taking a “laissez faire” in social engineering and allowing each group to evolve its own culture. Unfortunately, each group learns the bad habit from each other. On the other hand, Singapore government is very intrusive and takes a fine approach in social engineering. You get fine virtually for all misdeeds. After 40 odd FINE years, you can see the differences in the character of the each nation.

While we were talking, a fight ensured between 2 male Chinese Malaysian passengers, about 4 rows from the back of cabin which is very near where I was standing.

According to my friend who is sitting about 4 rows in front of the passenger A, passenger A was talking loudly with his friends. After passenger A stopped talking and took a rest, passenger B who was sitting one row behind passenger A started talking loudly with his friends. Passenger A told passenger B not to talk too loud but passenger B told passenger A that A was talking loudly earlier. Some foul words were used and apparently A took offend when B said some about A’s mother.

Fist fights started followed by kicks. Luckily, a souvenir trolley was in between the two fighters and no third party was hurt. At one time it appeared that the flight may be escalated with another fierce-looking guy trying to come in to lend a hand to his friend. One young man who just finished using the toilet said this is the first time he sees this happened. It was contemplating to video tape the flight with my hand phone for youtube or police evidence but instinct told me to stay away.

The captain was called in to calm the situation and told the two to behave and one of them was moved to the front seat. After a while, an announcement were made to get the passenger to be seated due to “turbulence”. I smiled to the flight attendance and told him “good try”.

I expected police to be called in after disembarkation in KL but nothings happened. I guess Air Asia is scared of the bad publicity at the expense of passenger safety. I remember reading in newspaper a few months ago that a passenger was jailed for bomb hoax on plane or something to the effect in Singapore.

In my humble opinion, the police should be called in and arrest the 2 and their acomplice. If the inccidence became news, it will reassure AirAsia passengers that the same safety standard is enforced for lower cost airlines. It will also teach the budget travelers who were used to “land bus” instead of “air bus” to behave accordingly. The life of air passengers are at stake here.

I wonder if the few farangs traveling with small children will want to fly the “Now everyone (including rascals) can fly” airline.

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