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Passengers take airlines to court
By Cao Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-01-12 10:07

SHANGHAI: Twenty-one angry passengers filed a lawsuit against China Eastern Airlines after a flight in July of last year was delayed for six hours and measures they were offered by the airline were not satisfactory.

"The 21 plaintiffs were supposed to take Flight MU5195 from Shanghai to Hohhot, capital of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, at 2:35 pm on July 30 of last year, which, however, did not leave Shanghai until 8:30pm," said Wu Dong, the plaintiffs' lawyer.

Wu said the airline never gave any clear explanation when the passengers were anxiously awaiting their flight, and then ignored requests to help find alternate transportation or hotels when the plane finally arrived in its destination as late as 11 pm."

The group is asking for the company to make a public apology in the Shanghai and Hohhot media, their lawyer said. They are also asking to know the true cause of the delay and payment of 1,000 yuan (US$120) for each of the plaintiffs.

This is the third hearing held in the case after the first two failed to provide enough evidence. The verdict will be passed later.

Two passengers, Xie Kun and Xu Zheng, appeared in court yesterday to represent the other 19.

"When we finally got on the plane five hours after the scheduled flight, at about 7:30 pm, the company told us to wait one more hour. At that time, we all felt extremely angry and asked to talk to anyone in charge, but we were given the cold shoulder by the air hostess," said Xie.

The company, however, contributed the delay all to bad weather, which cannot be controlled, and claimed to have provided help to passengers beyond what it was required to do.

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