Black­list un­ruly fans at air­ports!

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - TWOCENTS - By David Lee

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.

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