Hong Kong airline makes woman take pregnancy test before flying to Saipan

Hong Kong (CNN) — A Hong Kong-based airline has apologized after it demanded a passenger take a test to prove she was not pregnant before boarding a flight to the US Pacific island of Saipan.

Low-cost carrier Hong Kong Express came under criticism after a 25-year-old Japanese woman said airline staff required her to take a “fit-to-fly” assessment, which included a pregnancy test, when she was checking in for a flight at Hong Kong International Airport.

“It was very humiliating and frustrating,” she told the Wall Street Journal, adding that the airline indicated the test was required for women “observed to have a body size or shape resembling a pregnant woman.”
The report said airline staff then escorted her to a washroom and handed her a pregnancy test, barring her from boarding until the test came back negative.
“We would like to apologize for the distress caused,” the airline, which was acquired by Cathay Pacific in July last year, said in a statement to CNN.
Hong Kong Express has apologized for making a woman take a pregnancy test.

Hong Kong Express has apologized for making a woman take a pregnancy test.

Paul Yeung/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The statement said the airline was under pressure from authorities in Saipan to step up checks on passengers.

“We took actions on flights to Saipan from February 2019 to help ensure US immigration laws were not being undermined,” it said.

“Under our new management, we recognize the significant concerns this practice has caused. We have immediately suspended the practice while we review it.”

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