The $1,000 fine on VietJet Air for hosting a bikini show on its flight last week has raised eyebrows among many who say the fine is just too light compared to the fame the carrier attracted after the scandal. However, the airliner claims it is heavy.
On August 5, private budget carrier VietJet Air (VJA) organized a bikini show “a Hawaiian dance performance” on its maiden flight from Ho Chi Minh City to the coastal city of Nha Trang with the participation of five attractive girls who were contestants of a local beauty pageant, Miss Ngoi Sao. The contest, held by VnExpress newswire and VJA, ended on July 30.
Nguyen Trong Thang, chief inspector of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam said VJA got the fines since it had violated the local aviation regulations by “organizing an unapproved show on a plane”.
The fine is quite heavy, violator complains
A representative of VJA has promised the carrier will no longer organize such a bikini show on its flights and will pay the fine. However, VJA still complains that the penalty is quite heavy.
According to the carrier, since the flight went to a coastal city, the performance was just a “bonus service” to spread an atmosphere of vacation to VJA’s passengers and the performers were not wearing indecent costumes. They had bikini-tops and long skirts instead, the representative explained.
Almost all customers on the plane that day said they were not bothered by the performance and supported the carrier in holding similar dancing shows on future flights, the airliner added.
When asked if VJA had violated aviation safety regulation for letting passengers use cell phones to record the 3-minute show, the carrier answered that since the phones were used in movie-mode only, they did not affect flight safety. In addition, the plane had already reached its safe altitude before the show occurred.
“Local aviation regulations do not have a specific article for such an event. It’s also hard for us to ask for approval for such a show,” the carrier said after informing that many carriers in other countries have run in-flight dancing shows by stewardesses.
Many judge the penalty too light
Disagreeing with VJA, a number of netizens expressed that the fine is too light compared with the scandal which could catapult VJA to fast fame.
“There must be other penalties besides the fine. If it’s only $1,000, the it seems to be a cheap price to get famous,” Nguyen Van Tu stressed.
Many netizens also criticized the show as being offensive and inappropriate to traditional Vietnamese culture and customs.
“I don’t understand what VJA did it for. Was it really a bonus service for customers or just a PR trick?” Tran Chau wrote to Tuoi Tre.
Others suggested local aviation authorities issue regulations to forbid such performances considering that artists performing on stage with scantly costumes are also subject to fines and bans.
Moreover, some point their fingers to the show’s performers, contestants of Miss Ngoi Sao beauty pageant.
“That’s embarrassing. How could they, a beauty pageant’s contestants, do this stuff? That could only make passengers feel awkward,” a netizen stated.
This is not the first time Miss Ngoi Sao contest has been criticized. Early this month, a photo featuring a charity trip held by Miss Ngoi Sao was spread on the Internet and aroused fury among many who criticized that the trip was just a trick to promote the contest, as well as the beauties’ names.
On July 29, an article and a series of photos featuring the trip to the southern province of Long An to hand over gifts to local disadvantaged seniors were posted on ngoisao.net.
However, instead of praising the beauties for their act, many netizens were angered by a picture showing the contestants radiantly sitting at a row of chairs and tables with bottles of water, while the elderly only sit on plastic chairs and have no water to drink.
However, there are some foreign readers supporting the bikini show. Kalvin commented on Tuoi Tre News “When is the next show? Guess I will only be flying VJA from now on. Some people just need to get over certain things and move on with the rest of the world.”
Meanwhile, Chewbacca wrote “I would use that airline every time if they had a show like that on board every flight.”