Three passengers left the aircraft before take-off, having successfully photographed their Korean idols. Photo: Baidu
Three passengers left the aircraft before take-off, having successfully photographed their Korean idols. Photo: Baidu

All 360 passengers on a Korean Air plane poised for departure from Hong Kong international airport had to disembark and go through security once more after three Chinese fans of Korean K-pop band Wanna One, having successfully photographed their heroes, left the flight before take-off, demanding full refunds.

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Reportedly the three fans – two from China and one from Hong Kong – bought tickets in First class, Business class and Economy class to ensure they were on the same flight with the famous boy band who performed on stage at the 2018 Mnet Asian Music Awards in Hong Kong on Dec. 14.

When the three had successfully met their idols and taken photographs, their mission was accomplished. The trio then told the cabin crew that they had urgent matters to attend to and asked to be allowed to get off the flight for a full refund. The airline crew had no option but to concede to their requests.

Unfortunately, however, this forced the airline to empty the plane for security reasons, meaning that 360 passengers had to unbuckle their seat belts and go back through the security check at Hong Kong International Airport.

The Korean airline was also subjected to a fine for the one-hour delay forced on the flight’s departure. The airline immediately called Hong Kong police, who declined to handle the case as the incident did not involve physical injuries or complaints.

This is not the first example of fans taking advantage of an airline refund policy to get most of their money back after meeting their idols. However it was the first time that everyone else on the aircraft suffered the inconvenience of having to disembark for an additional security check.

In May, around 20 mainland Chinese fans managed to book the same flight with their idols. Before landing, they rushed from Economy class to meet their idols in the First class cabin, blocked the cabin door and recorded their journey.

The incident, widely known by the hashtag #CrazyFansCausedFlightDelayed with more than 123 million online views, created a delay of over two hours at Beijing International Airport.

The incident caused the authorities to review fans’ impact on flight security. In July, China’s civil aviation authority issued a series of regulations to prevent fans from disturbing public security at airports. Additionally, offenders will be given a bad social credit rating that will affect their future travels by air or train.