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When 28-year-old Ada Ng posted photos of herself sitting in the cockpit of a Cathay Pacific flight, she would never have imagined that she would find herself in the middle of a social media storm soon after.

But Ng’s photos and videos of her experience, and accompanying excited comments, which were posted on Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo, have prompted debate about airline security – and confusion as to why the young woman was allowed to travel in this way, seemingly in breach of post-9/11 security standards.

The young woman, who was travelling home to Hong Kong from Taipei, posted the photos to Weibo, commenting that she had been allowed to travel in the cockpit as the flight was “too full”. Shanghaiist reports that she also remarked “how cool it was to experience takeoff and landing inside a cockpit”.

However, many commenters expressed concern that a flight captain had apparently allowed a passenger to access the cockpit during the flight, something that would breach most airlines’ regulations.

▼ Having gained access to the flight deck, Ng did what every self-respecting millennial would do, and took a selfie.

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▼ She also remembered to take some pictures of the view from the cockpit, and a video which appears to show the plane landing at Chek Lap Kok airport.

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The photos, which quickly went viral on Weibo before being deleted by Ng, include one image which appears to show that the young woman had a jump seat, seats used by cabin crew during takeoff and landing. A spokesperson for the airline told the South China Morning Post that only Cathay Pacific employees or their direct relatives could be assigned these seats. Citing privacy concerns, she declined to comment on whether Ng was an employee or family member.

 ▼ Boarding at 6:40am! That was one early-morning selfie!

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Should we be worried that this kind of thing is apparently happening? And more importantly, just how common is it for passengers to be given a seat in the cockpit?

Source: Shanghaiist (1, 2), SCMP
Images: Ada Ng via Shanghaiist