London’s Heathrow Airport is being accused of discriminating against Chinese customers in a recent Twitter thread that has sent netizens into a fury.
OMG, I cannot imagine that Heathrow Airport in London is such a two-faced back stabber. Chinese consumers need to spend £1000 to receive a coupon in the duty free shop while others just need £79. Isn’t it crazy?! Hey, Heathrow Airport, I wish a huge drop in your new year sales!!!
— Bin Chen (@BinChen43537621) February 11, 2018
The initial tweet accused Heathrow Airport of giving travelers a coupon after spending £79 ($109) — that is, unless the customer was “Chinese”, in which case £1,000 ($1,383) was needed to receive the voucher. The post was retweeted by angry netizens, furious at the unjust situation.
Just read that @HeathrowAirport provides customers a vip voucher if they spend £79 except for Chinese customers who need to spend £1,000 to qualify…
— Nameless (@axegang_123) February 12, 2018
Angry netizens started leaving poor reviews for the airport on their social media accounts, rating them poorly for the discriminatory rules.
I hope all Chinese do not go shopping at Heathrow Airport anymore. They treat us like idiots. They have a policy which is for Chinese who spend over £1000 and can get discount vouchers, but for other nationalities they only need spend £79 and they can get the pic.twitter.com/j8wnXOBuwi
— 洎欺欺魜 (@ziqiqiren) February 12, 2018
Soon, the word spread from Western social media platforms to Chinese sites, where the news caught like wildfire.
I feel disappointed about @HeathrowAirport when I heard about Chinese people need to consume more than £1000 to get VIP voucher. It’s unfair! I bought nothing from Heathrow ,but it already be quite famous in Chinese social app. WE need a reasonable explanation @WorldDutyFree pic.twitter.com/zfbewdOTOx
— Wu pei yu (@Wupeiyu2) February 11, 2018
The chief editor of HereInUK reached out to the original customer to ascertain what had occurred, then sent a formal inquiry to Heathrow Airport to ask for their side of the story. “Because she’s Chinese, she needs to spend £1000 to get the voucher,” the letter reported the airport employee as saying.
Heathrow Airport initially responded to the incident in a generic, public relations-type manner…
Hi Bin, we are aware of the situation and are currently investigating this with our commercial partners to ensure this matter is resolved. We appreciate your support and kind understanding. As always our passengers & customers remain our first priority. Thank you
— Heathrow Airport (@HeathrowAirport) February 11, 2018
…but ultimately promised to have rectified the situation.
We sincerely apologise for issues surrounding a voucher scheme provided by one of our partners. Our partner has now identified and corrected the issue with immediate effect.
— Heathrow Airport (@HeathrowAirport) February 12, 2018