K-Pop Fans Book Refundable Airline Tickets So They Can Mob Idols

I suspect I have a reader or two who may at some point in their life have booked a refundable airline ticket in order to get airside, in order to access a specific lounge, or something.

Well, whatever you did, it likely paled in comparison to what happened in Hong Kong over the weekend.

Three enthusiastic K-pop fans booked a ticket on a Korean Air flight from Hong Kong to Seoul Incheon that Korean pop band “Wanna One” was on. The band had performed in Hong Kong at the 2018 M-net Asian Music Awards the night before, so I guess it wasn’t too tough for them to figure out what flight they were on (it’s unknown whether the crazed fans had specific intel, or just guessed).

The three fans allegedly mobbed the musicians when they boarded, and ignored requests from the crew to sit down. They even apparently had posters of the band with them.

Once they were done mobbing the musicians they said they no longer wanted to fly to Incheon, and got off the plane and requested a refund (since they had fully refundable tickets).

One thing I didn’t realize is that Hong Kong’s aviation laws require that everyone deplane and be screened again when someone decides not to take a flight (that’s not the case in the US, as far as I know). So the flight ended up incurring a significant delay because of that.

(Tip of the hat to SINJim)

Comments

  1. How can they still ask for refund, even after checked in and boarded the plane? Is the policy allowing that?

    Curiously asking.

  2. In the US, if they had boarded the aircraft and then said that they didn’t want to fly, and it was clear that they had no intention of ever flying, the aircraft would likely need to be deplaned and a security search done. It depends on how rules are interpreted, but under most scenarios, another security search is the norm.

  3. We happened to be finishing security at HKG for the first time ever at the exact time the band made it. We joined the crowd airside and got photo/video of the mess. It was hilarious and felt almost caricatured, although we ultimately regretted losing too much of our lounge time to wait for their arrival (which is why I am on this site and one a fan site for the band, amiright?). They had an elevator put to the side for them, and every time someone tried to use it, the security people had to shoo them away until they actually arrived. It was hard to get a great look at them because of how many crazed fans there were.

  4. I think i’ve not earnt a mere point or mile by this blog hints in the last 6 months, but things about grndr, suncream and k pop Ive learnt a lot…

  5. They definitely have intel. There are some ppl who sell those personal flight information of K POP artists that may include schedules and even seat numbers. For like $40. I don’t know how that is possible. (I mean technically it might be easy but…..) It was in the news earlier.

  6. They should be prosecuted for breach of safety having failed to comply with the crew, along with whoever breached confidentiality
    They should also be made to pay for costs related to the delayed flight and missed connections

  7. You guys are such hard-asses. They’re just kids, most of them. You want to prosecute fans for a moment that was probably the biggest of their lives? I mean, come on. It’s not the end of the world to have to re-board and be delayed, seriously. I know their decisions were selfish, and that I am more accommodating than most, but somebody needs to acknowledge that this isn’t something super serious. It’s K-Pop and a rare enough encounter for now. let it go unless it becomes something much, much bigger.

  8. I once happened to arrive at ICN at the same time the K-Pop group ‘Twice’ was returning from a tour. While I was in line for passport control, I realized I misplaced my arrivals card. I had to exit the line, fill out a new card, and return to the back of the line. My flight had got in late and was one of the last long haul arrivals of the day. By the time I got to baggage claim, there was hardly anyone left. There was only one customs agent. It was taking a while to get forms collected. I remembered waiting a while in line with what seemed like a group of 20 people traveling together. I chatted with two members of the party next to me. They mentioned they just got in from Singapore. The group gathered together after customs before exiting. I thought nothing of it.

    After I got through customs, I proceeded to the exit. When the door opened, I heard people suddenly shouting and there were strobes of camera flashes. I was startled and stopped. There were people everywhere. I looked around for my girlfriend. The crowd was looking at me. The crowd died down. As I cautiously proceeded, I realized they were more interested in the door behind me.

    I made my way into the crowded arrivals area to find my girlfriend. Right when I found her, the whole place broke into chaos. People were screaming. The doors were open. Photographers were rushing towards the door and climbing on top of everything to get shots. Security staff would form circles and link arms around the members. Initially, I had no idea who these people were. Then, as more entered the arrivals hall, I started to recognize some of them from the group I was with in customs. As the group proceeded through, the crowd would follow. The hallway to the escalators and transportation center was like stampede. I asked someone nearby who it was and they yelled “TWICE!!!”.

  9. They are called Saesengs in Korean culture and are essentially extremely obsessive “fans” (fans do not like them either as they make the idols suspicious of all fans). They have complete disregard of how their actions affect anyone, even the health of the idols they fantasize over. This is not some of the worst stuff they’ve done.

    I’ve disembarked from a few flights with K-pop idol groups and it can be an absolute madhouse. Sometimes the fans swarm the the idols so much that security personnel must fight the mob back or link their arms together and move as a group to prevent the fans from swarming or physically hurting the idols.

    These fans however got away scott free. They were not prosecuted by the authorities in HK and were given their refunds. However I suspect they have received a lifetime ban from Korean Air.

  10. @ITST: It’s not that hard if you know someone who works at reservations for a Airline.
    When I worked for JJ, it was easy to find someone on a flight if you have their full name. Or I could pull the flight passenger list.
    It’s a bit creepy to know that your information is there and someone can use it to earn money, but it is what it is.
    Also, I have no respect for this kind of fans.

  11. @Marc – No, this is sheer stupidity that could have serious repercussions on others. For example, I know people who have missed funerals due to misconnecting international flights. Such behavior shouldn’t be tolerated, regardless of the age of the perpetrators.

  12. Interesting… I stayed at the Ritz Carlton hk this past weekend and saw signs for the MAMA. in the lobby. I might have even saw some of the kpop singers and just didnt know it… o well.

  13. @Antonio. I guess every time someone sees a plane there should be a blog entry. What about every time someone uses the bathroom on a plane. It’s aviation related!

  14. I flew KE from ICN to SIN about 18 months ago in F. My wife and I were the only passengers in F, and the K-pop group BTS was in business (which we didn’t figure out until after the fact). We were of course the first to deplane, and coming out of the jetway, and then all the way thruogh the arrivals hall/baggage claim, there were throngs of people hoping to catch sight of them.

    It was mostly entertaining – we got through everything without issue – but it was pretty funny to be the first off the plane and walk out into that.

  15. @bruno: everything is an arrestable offence in Singapore. Sometimes they’ll jail you, other times you’ll be hanged or just spanked for being so naughty

  16. In the KPOP world that fans who mobbed Wanna One are called “sasaengs” meaning fans that go beyond the limit like stalking them.

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