China airline clarifies report on ‘missing’ retired teachers in China

September 01, 2019

THE three retired Filipino teachers who were reported to have been missing after reaching Shanghai Pudong Airport in China were not missing after all.

According to the China Eastern Airlines, the three elderly teachers were among other passengers whose flights were affected by typhoon “Lekima” (Hanna in the Philippines).

On August 9 (New York time), the three Filipinos ended their trip to the United States and took a connecting flight from New York to Manila via Shanghai Pudong Airport.

Affected by the super typhoon, the flight was diverted to Wuhan Airport for safety.  On the evening of the same day (August 10 BJT), the back-up flight flew back to Shanghai Pudong and landed at 00:30(BJT) on August 11.

China Eastern  provided services to the passengers, properly arranged free accommodation and notified passengers to take available follow-up flights.

From August 11,  the transport capacity of Pudong-Manila was sufficient, so  the 73 passengers affected by the typhoon took flights on their selected flight dates.

Unlike other passengers, the Filipino teachers  -- due to the miscommunication and unwanted situation at the airport  --  were not able to take their flight back to Manila.

The China Eastern then arranged free accommodation and booked them to a hotel equipped with time-limited toll-free for international calls and free WiFi.

However, the three elders failed to get in touch with their families due to the mobile phone failure and unfamiliarity with hotel communication methods, prompting their relatives to seek the assistance of the media to find their “missing” relatives.

“We have felt the sincere concern and solicitude of China Eastern Airlines. We will still choose to take China Eastern on our next trip,” the teachers said.

They said “we are satisfied with the hotel accommodation and cabin service of the airline,” and “it was warm to have someone pick us up at the cabin gate.”

China Eastern Manila Office, upon learning that the teachers were returning to Manila on Aug. 18 on  Flight MU211,  they immediately informed their families and sent staff to meet them at the airport.

On August 21, after a five-hour drive in the rain, the head of the office visited the teachers to check how they are doing and listened to their opinions.

“We have attached great importance to the investigation of the service with the relevant flights under abnormal weather conditions. We will strive to improve services, especially to strengthen the service and operational guidelines of elderly or special passengers, so as to provide a better experience to Filipino and global passengers,” the China Eastern Manila manager said.

Up to now, in addition to the Shanghai Pudong round trip to Manila, China Eastern Airlines has opened round-trip flights from Pudong to Cebu and Clark, providing convenience for Filipino passengers to transfer to the US and other places.