Two adult passengers suspected of helping one of the three children they traveled with sneak onboard a plane without ticket on Sunday were guilty only of misunderstanding regulations, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said on Tuesday.
A flight scheduled from Beijing to Shanghai took off five hours later than planned on Sunday after a four-year-old child was found to have boarded without a ticket. All passengers were ordered to get off the plane for another security check due to the incident.
The child was thought to have escaped the security check under the cover of two accompanying grown-ups, reported Beijing Youth Daily.
According to the country's aviation rules, infants under two years old should travel on a ticket priced at 10 percent of an adult fare. A ticket for a child above two but under 12 costs half of the adult ticket price.
But the adult passengers mistakenly thought that children under 1.2 meters in height did not need tickets, Li Jicheng, deputy director general of the Aviation Safety Office of CAAC, claimed at a news conference held Tuesday in Beijing. He added this was the first time the five had taken a flight, and they were not familiar with aviation ticket purchasing regulations.
Li Jicheng further claimed that the incident actually delayed the plane by just 90 minutes rather than five hours, since the Shanghai Juneyao flight HO1252 had already been held back by bad weather.
Juneyao Air offered an apology on Tuesday, saying it would further improve its security service.
The company said it would also provide compensation to passengers for the unexpected delay, according an official statement it released on Tuesday on its Weibo account.