A Cathay Pacific passenger who was stranded in Hong Kong International Airport for three months, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has casually walked out and gone home after testing negative for the virus.
The Cathay Pacific passenger boarded a flight from Canada to Hong Kong back in March, intending to travel to Vietnam.
However, COVID-19 had different plans. While he was travelling, Hong Kong transit was shut down and Vietnam closed its border to arrivals.
Returning back to Hong Kong, the man decided to live inside the airport, despite the fact he’s a Hong Kong resident and entitled to entry (with quarantine). Maybe he fancied a change of scenery? Or was an inspiring actor ready to audition for the next ‘Terminal’ movie?
It is unclear why the man refused to leave the airport. While there, Cathay Pacific was required to care for him, providing him with free food and drink during his stay.
Maybe the free provisions were the reason.
On Thursday, the man left the airport after three months airside. He walked through immigration, passed a COVID-19 test, and simply went back home.
According to reports, the Hongkonger was one of several high-profile cases that raised questions about the government’s handling of transit passengers over the past few months. More than a dozen travellers were left inside the airport with nowhere to go due to the border restrictions and airlines mistakenly allowing customers to take flights despite the border closures.
The real-life Terminal
Being stuck at the airport isn’t a common occurance, thankfully.
Saying that, the most famous person to live at the airport was probably Mehran Karimi Nasseri, the man that the Tom Hanks movie ‘The Terminal’ was inspired by.
Mehran Karimi Nasseri, an Iranian refugee, lived in the departure lounge of Terminal One in Charles de Gaulle Airport from 26 August 1988 until July 2006.
He reported being kicked out of Iran for protesting the Shah, and eventually granted refugee status in Belgium. He moved to the UK, but lost his papers claiming his briefcase was stolen. When he returned to Britain border officials refused his entry, and sent him back on a flight to Paris where he had come from.
Nasseri was offered residence in France and in Belgium, but wouldn’t sign papers agreeing to it because those listed him as being Iranian and he wanted to be a UK citizen where he says his father is from, and because he wanted the documents to reflect the name, Sir Alfred Mehran.
It is said that after spending time in hospital, he was granted freedom in France.
18 years is a pretty insane amount of time to spend at the airport, don’t you think?
I once got stuck in JFK for 9 hours and it felt like a lifetime!
What’s the longest amount of time you’ve been stuck at the airport for?
Share this story