Passengers give an aid to a female passenger who passes out due to stuffiness in the cabin. /Screenshot
Some air passengers in China have vented their anger at Shenzhen Airlines after an aircraft form the airlines was stuck on the tarmac for five hours, causing one passenger to faint due to stuffiness in the cabin.
Shenzhen Airlines responded to the incident which affected flight ZH9632 from Dalian in northeast China to the southern city of Shenzhen in an interview with the Yangtze Evening Post, saying that the aircraft was unable to connect to the ground power supply at Dalian's Zhoushuizi airport and that the on-board Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) could not sufficiently lower the cabin temperature.
The airline also made the woman who passed out sign a general disclaimer usually issued to pregnant and ill travelers confirming that the Shenzhen Airlines is not responsible for their condition.
Earlier this month, video filmed by a passenger showed a woman pass out due to overheating after a 2-hour delay. A number of passengers complained that the flight attendants refused to turn on the air conditioning system to lower the cabin temperature.
Another video which circulated on social media captured a flight attendant asking passengers not to record what was happening with his smartphone.
According to the airline, the passenger insisted on continuing with her journey after recovering whereupon flight attendants made her sign the disclaimer, which triggered a wave of criticism from netizens and lawyers.
"Is there any relation between ground power supply and the flight? Obviously, there is something wrong in the negotiation between the airlines and the ground service. Why did [the airline] pass the buck onto all passengers?" questioned @Ertongbangladiator.
"[The airline] did not want to take the blame so it forced the female passenger to sign the disclaimer," commented @Andrew_Ye
Zhou Jian, a lawyer from the Zhongyin Law Firm in Nanjing, told the Yantze Evening Post that the disclaimer is unenforceable because the airline intended to shirk its responsibility for the passenger, adding that the disclaimer should have been signed before boarding.
Public outrage was not only limited to the disclaimer but also to the airline's explanation for the 5-hour delay.
Shenzhen Airlines said the delay was actually only 2 hours, with medical treatment for the woman who fainted adding an additional 3-hour delay.
The airline said it will not compensate any of the passengers.
Some netizens have lashed out at the airline, quoting a regulation governing flight delays, which was issued by the country's Ministry of Transportation last year, which says that any carrier should allow passengers to leave the aircraft if it has been delayed for at least three hours without notification of a takeoff time.
Shenzhen Airlines has not responded to this in an official statement.
Founded in 1992, Shenzhen Airlines, headquartered at Baoan International Airport in Shenzhen, operates 200 routes with a fleet of 170 aircraft.
The airline joined the Star Alliance in 2012.