Blacklist unruly fans at airports!
If you are a frequent flyer, chances are you’ve already been disturbed by unruly fans who create ridiculous scenes at airports as they chase celebrities around. You might even have had your flight delayed when things got out of control with these excessively eager fans.
According to the Beijing Daily, on May 7, flight CA1886 from Shanghai to Beijing was delayed by fans who forced their way through the boarding gate just to take photos of a celebrity. Their unruly behavior resulted in the flight being held up by a couple of hours.
A wayward individual or two can be contained rather quickly by airport security, but organized unruliness can be a serious disruption of public order. It can inconvenience other travelers and even pose a real threat to flight safety. Fan clubs have the power to wreak havoc, as they mobilize through online chat groups and social media tools.
Statistics released by the Beijing Capital International Airport show that unruly fans chasing celebrities at the very busy Terminal 3 resulted in 20 cases of police action in 2017. This year, there have been seven cases of police arriving at Terminal 3 just to contain overzealous fans. In fact, organized fans come in groups to greet celebrities at Terminal 3 every two to three days, though not all of them are unruly or result in police action.
While amused and troubled by the sheer disruptive power of such people, I have to admit that they do have their wry form of brain power. It’s been reported that fans would buy airline tickets to get access to the boarding area just to accompany their idols as far as possible. Afterward, they would get a full refund because they buy full-priced airline tickets that come with rather generous refund policies. According to “professional fans,” such a maneuver offers good value for the money.
Maybe it’s time to do something about them. I’d suggest blacklisting unruly fans and prohibiting them from traveling by air. Of course, more detailed arrangements could be developed to make the blacklisting regime work, such as an outright ban on them for all flights across all airlines or a more flexible ban which restricts them to certain airlines within a given period. This system would only work through coordination between law enforcement, the airline companies and regulatory bodies because the stakeholders have to balance industry revenues against the need to ensure public order and safety. The entertainment industry must also do its part to contain wayward fans. It must be noted that the collective disruptiveness of fans is often the result of fan organizations that operate on funding from entertainment industry stakeholders who have a vested interest in maintaining appearances. Regulators must develop effective rules and penalties to dissuade industry stakeholders from operating or encouraging unhealthy fan behavior.
Finally, we don’t want our future doomed by crazed youth. So, we need to educate our kids and teens about right and wrong. We need to teach our youth to be reasonable and responsible.
In the meantime, let’s just hope peace and safety won’t be disrupted by unruly fans the next time we travel by air.