Cathay Pacific cracks down on theft by cabin crew

Cathay Pacific Airways planes on the tarmac at Hong Kong international airport. (Sout China Morning Post photo)

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A crackdown at Cathay Pacific Airways on flight attendants helping themselves to company supplies has sent shock waves through the cabin crew community after a handful were caught over the weekend.

Such petty theft at Hong Kong’s biggest airline had long been treated as an unofficial perk, with staff taking home everything from cutlery and wine glasses to bottles of champagne and even pieces of bread, according to company and cabin crew sources.

At least six employees -- a mix of senior trainers and junior crew -- were on Saturday placed under investigation awaiting possible disciplinary action following spot checks by professional security teams at Hong Kong airport.

The sources said the theft of items that could have been used for future flights had cost the carrier “hundreds of millions” over the years.

Flight attendant unions said they backed the “zero tolerance” approach but expressed concerns about how staff searches were being carried out. They added they would be seeking legal advice.

One of the most popular items had been the small pots of Haagen-Dazs ice cream served in flight. Cabin crew had been known to have freezers at home packed with the stuff.


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