An air hostess has accused Cathay Pacific of throwing her suitcase, and that of her colleagues’, into a garbage dump after they left it overnight in a storage room at the airline’s headquarters.
According to Apple Daily, Hong Kong’s flag carrier had issued an internal memo on Dec. 31 that, from then on, the storage room at Cathay City needed to be kept tidy and that the storage room could only be used by staff for temporary storage.
The internal memo added that items could not be left in the storage room overnight and that they would “dispose of” any items that had been.
Speaking to the newspaper, one flight attendant, surnamed Chan, said that she hadn’t received the memo and had left her suitcase inside the storage room on Dec. 31.
She returned to Cathay City on Jan. 5 to pick up her luggage — which contained her passport, cabin crew certificate, uniform, and about HK$1,000 (US$168) worth of belongings — only to find it had gone missing.
She called security staff, who informed her that there had been a clean-up operation between 2am to 4am earlier that day, and that her suitcase had been disposed of at the North Lantau Refuse Transfer Station.
Chan told the newspaper that about 10 of her colleagues had also reported their luggage missing and that they went to the garbage station to try and save their belongings, only to be told by staff that their belongings had already been compressed.
Staff at the refuse station let the crew review CCTV footage of garbage being compressed, but could not find their suitcases.
She then went to the police to file a report, and officers told her that it might be better if she tried to claim compensation from Cathay instead of reporting it as a theft.
Cathay, however, doesn’t seem in the mood to accept responsibility.
In an emailed statement to Coconuts HK, Cathay’s corporate affairs office seemed to suggest that the flight attendants in question had simply paid the price for ignoring company police.
“The area in question was never designed or intended to be used as an overnight luggage storage room for crew. It is a temporary storage area for crew to use between the time they report for duty and the time they board their flights,” the statement reads.
“Communication regarding the conditions of the area’s use has been made via various channels since November 2018. Should crew have enquiries or require further assistance, they are advised to contact their relevant department personnel.”
Chan told the newspaper that if there was a clean-up operation, her suitcase should have been set aside instead of dumped in the trash.
Chan told on.cc that she had worked for the airline for eight years, and that she will definitely been looking for another job after the luggage fiasco.
She told the outlet: “I never would have thought that a company would treat their employees like this, it’s inhumane!”
We’ll update this story as new information becomes available.