Cathay Pacific has sacked two flight attendants for allegedly tampering with oxygen tanks onboard and more are under investigation. My skepticism centers on motive. Why would a FA do this?
Seven times in the last month, Cathay Pacific has found depleted bottles of oxygen onboard. The latest incident took place on a Cathay Dragon flight from Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong on September 21st.
While previous incidents of depleted or depressurized oxygen tanks were found either before or after the flight, this time the problem was discovered during a mid-flight inspection. The oxygen tank was checked hourly in-flight, strongly suggesting the sabotage occurred in-flight.
Cathay Pacific told the South China Morning Post:
The airline is taking the issue very seriously. Safety and security are always our greatest priority.
Cathay Dragon immediately reported the case to the Hong Kong Police, who have launched a parallel investigation into the matter. The Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (CAD) has been informed.
Cathay Pacific also confirmed that two flight attendants were fired over the incident, but would not offer any more detail.
My big question, though, is why? Why would a flight attendant deplete the oxygen tank? To what end?
Some flight attendants and their union are frustrated with management. How does sabotaging vital safety equipment advance their goal of being taken more seriously? Who realistically think that by depleting oxygen flight attendants will scare management back to the bargaining table? If anything, it will drive customers away in fear, driving down profit and making any future concessions more difficult to achieve.
How about the protest movement? We know that many Cathay Pacific flight attendants are sympathetic to the ongoing demonstrations in Hong Kong. What message would sabotaging oxygen equipment serve? Subtle fear that protestors will dismantle the entire “system” if not given what they want? I doubt it. The Hong Kong public is widely supportive of the protest movement; these actions, if linked to the protest movement, greatly undermine its cause and moral high ground.
That leaves operatives from Mainland China. China has a motive to discredit the Hong Kong freedom movement by any means possible. Could it be that agents from the Mainland are guilty of depleting oxygen tanks in hopes of blame being directed toward the protest movement? My biases want this to be the the correct answer, but this seems far-fatched too. I’m not really a fan of conspiracy theories.
If oxygen tanks were being checked on an hourly basis and the problem was discovered mid-flight, do you really think a flight attendant would tamper with it? Who would be that dumb?
Motive remains a mystery in the matter of oxygen depletion on Cathay Dragon and Cathay Pacific. While the rash of incidents suggests this cannot possibly be random malfunctions, I have yet to see a compelling articulation of motive that would drive flight attendants to sabotage their own flights…and their greater cause.
When an AA mechanic sabotaged a 737-800 under the guise of frustration, the mechanic union at large lost a huge chunk of moral credibility. I am simply skeptical that Cathay Pacific flight attendants would follow the same playbook.
Do you see a viable motive in the ongoing cases of depleted oxygen tanks?
image: Cathay Pacific
“Under the guise of frustration.”
I thought he wanted more overtime.
That was another reason. He might also be a terrorist…
Any muslim who had beard and/or known someone in a country with muslim majority (eg. iraq) must be terrorist! Let’s incarcerated them! Human rights and presumption of innocence never applies to those who prayed 5 times a day!
Is this in response to China’s re-education camp where approximately 2m Uygurs are having the muslim drummed out of them replaced by teachings of Marxist views with Chinese characteristics?
Now most of the camps are gone
@Kevin, some have been released and thousands more jailed. There is no evidence that any of the camps are gone.
So…. In the guise of news relating to flight attendant this blog has transformed from trip review into politics. Notwithstanding, carry on the perspective of democracy and freedom is the best way to run the world, therefore let’s all support Hong Kong belligerents from the evil chinese imperial dictatorism.
The protesters have gone desperate and has disgraced the word freedom. Everyone is entitled to freedom snd democracy is truly the best system. But when you go on a riot destroying govt facilities, when you disrespect the very freedom you are fighting for that is entitled to all fellow HK people most esp dusrupt the airport and harrass the freedom of a foreign national then you truly don’t understand.
It’s not what you think. This has been going on unnoticed on every airline for years. It’s called The hangover cure. When the crew is out partying and have a hangover and have to fly the next morning they suck on the oxygen as a pick me up. Pilots have been doing this since WWII. Looks like over time they emptied the tanks
Matthew – clearly China has nothing to do with it… right?!?
It’s the cabin crews fault – totally right?!!
Such a one sided start that it’s worthless reading as a friend of so many cabin and cockpit CX crew, not to mention, being a diamond with CX for over 10 years now
CX Dian, agreed, what a piece of crap
Hangover / pick me up. Holy hell how could anyone with half a clue not assume this first
Exactly. Very well known.
This is all that was going on. Matthew, you wrote a long blog post revealing your dorkiness.
Pilots and FAs routinely take hits off the oxygen after a rough layover.
Ummm, a “friend” told me.
Do you know how long does it take for one oxygen bottle to be depleted? One hour if you’re on the high setting at 4L/hr and two if you’re on the low setting at 2L/hr.
A lot of those flights happens in short flights, do you think they’d go unnoticed squatting there for half of the duration of the flight getting high?
The first occurrence was on a China flight where the crew returned to the aircraft from their layover to find the bottles empty, are you telling me they emptied a bottle that’ll take an hour to empty the moment they get on board?
And this happens RIGHT AFTER the Chinese Civil Aviation Authority starts to pick on Cathay after a crew member got arrested in the protests, coincidence? I think not.
Protest movement is widely supportive in Hongkong? What makes you draw this biased conclusion? I think the movement is irrational and insane, sabotage the airport, why not sabotage the flight for change? The whole movement is simply manipulation of naive people for the wrong cause.
Oh yeah, millions of people are all naive, LMFAO
It’s not millions, it’s underaged kids striking from school and young adults with little to no work history. Naive is true for most, perhaps not for those who keep edging the naive on and promoting violence and chaos without actually participating themselves. It’s a single city vs a nation, imagine a crying toddler with a megaphone vs a grown adult. This is a world where often the powerful winner becomes justice so I guess no one registered that as the self destruction continues.
I guess you don’t read or watch the news. There have been dozens of injuries and CCTV footage of police beating elderly Chinese men, in one case, while he was handcuffed to a hospital bed.
I don’t think anyone supports violence, but most Hong Kongers support the protest.
One elderly gentleman’s crusade:
This victim of police abuse is 62:
I have lived here for 20 years. The violence, which started and escalated by the police but is now out of hand by the protesters, should be condemned.
But, the peaceful protests are people of all ages. You are inundated with news of the violence and thus ignorant of the facts. It isn’t your fault.
So ignorant. Stick to points and miles and how to selector way from class Q to class J.
Is this a big inside secret or something? I’ve never heard of this. Why wouldn’t crews fess up? That’s not sabotage.
If this had happened pre-flight I could see it being a FA who wants to create a flight delay as a means of punishing the company for its actions. But mid flight? With hourly checks being performed? First I’m not a Cathay guy but I’ve never before heard of hourly checks which all by itself sets off alarms. And I very seriously doubt a FA would be depleting the bottle mid flight. That would certainly attract a lot of attention and notice. Not to mention making it obvious (in theory) who did it.
So this story isn’t passing my sniff test.
Have you heard of pilots investing oxygen to counteract alcohol?
Agreed, to delay, may be but mid flight? Not much point, as to the suggestion of taking a snide, unless it’s a long haul, would be hard to do without anyone noticing, either by pax or their inflight Manager. Had previously been a CX crew, hourly checks of oxygen bottles are a bit insane. In the middle of drink or meal service, sorry sir I will come back after I checked my oxygen bottles. LOLZ
Out of Stupidity! You can see so many in HK streets these days.