The Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department plans to formally ask Cathay Pacific for an explanation following the emergence of videos and photographs of a flight landing at Chek Lap Kok airport which appeared to be taken by a female passenger who was allowed to ride in a cockpit jump seat.
A spokeswoman for Cathay Pacific told the South China Morning Post that employees of the airline and their immediate family members may be allowed to use jump seats but stopped short of revealing whether the woman in question was an employee or family member, citing privacy concerns.
From the images that she posted online, however, her ticket was marked JMP, meaning she had been appropriately assigned the jump seat. The spokeswoman also did not say if Cathay had a policy against filming or using electronics in the cockpit, but their official website indicates that “small handheld portable electronic devices” may be used throughout the flight.
Netizens on various news and social media websites have expressed outrage that the woman was allowed to ride in the cockpit. As it remains unclear whether 28-year-old passenger Ada Ng was cabin crew or a family member, her post to Weibo soon went viral and sparked a discussion about airline security, as most airlines have made it near impossible for passengers to access the cockpit post-9/11.
In 2011, a minor scandal erupted after photos surfaced showing a Cathay Pacific flight attendant performing oral sex on a pilot in the cockpit. The couple was dismissed from the airline shortly afterwards.
Live vicariously through Ada Ng with this video of her touchdown at Hongkong airport, as seen through the cockpit:
By Dominic Jackson