Korean Air has announced a change in their refund policy, following an incident with Wanna One saesangs.
“Sasaengs” are obsessive fans who engage in stalking or other behavior that constitutes an invasion of privacy. These “fans” often pursue idols at airports and on airplanes, causing inconveniences for other passengers, such as flight delays.
On December 15, approximately 360 passengers on a plane from Hong Kong to Seoul were forced to debark right before takeoff because four saesang passengers insisted on leaving the plane. According to airline regulations, a security inspection must happen if even one passenger leaves before takeoff. All passengers must exit the plane while this inspection is taking place.
The saesang passengers had bought first-class tickets for the purpose of seeing Wanna One up close. After seeing Wanna One, they insisted on leaving the plane and refunding their tickets. Their actions delayed the flight for an hour.
All four passengers received full refunds, which many netizens felt enabled their saesang behavior.
- “They act like that because they’re getting a full refund. If there was no refund, this would never have happened. They need to change the regulations and add punishment.”
- “This is a problem with the airline.”
- “Even movie theaters don’t give a refund right before a movie starts. Why are they issuing a refund?”
In light of the incident, Korea Air has announced that they will be raising refund penalties to prevent false flight check-ins in the future.
“The fact is there were passengers who falsely checked in on the flight to see celebrities.”
— Korean Air official
Starting January 1, the airline will charge an additional 200,000 won (approx. $177) to passengers who cancel international flights.