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
London’s Heathrow Airport reportedly discriminated against Chinese travelers when a promotion scheme by duty free shops offered different rates to Chinese and non-Chinese customers.
The shops gave non-Chinese travelers a 20 percent discount coupon after spending $109 but Chinese travelers had to spend $1,383 for that same discount offer.
The incident was brought into light when a Chinese student who worked at the airport shared his experience and wrote a blog to highlight the discriminatory behavior.
The student wrote that he tried to get the discount for a Chinese woman who had spent around $415 but he was told that the lady had to spend at least $1,000 to avail to discount because she was Chinese.
The blog instantly went viral and people also took to Chinese micro-blogging website Weibo to vent their outrage.
The discrimination by the airport also lead people to post bad reviews about their service on social media websites.
“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 (discount),” wrote one user.
Another one said, “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. As a British Chinese I am disgusted by this.”
“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?!” Bin Chen wrote on Twitter.
Following the outrage regarding the unfair policy, Heathrow Airport’s spokesperson said, “We have been made aware of this offer, which we find unacceptable. We are currently working with our commercial partner to understand how this happened and ensure it does not happen again.”
World Duty Free, which is a commercial partner of Heathrow Airport, also released a statement addressing the issue.
“We are grateful for the comments shared on social media today regarding our VIP voucher scheme. We have investigated this straight away and have identified an issue which we have corrected with immediate effect. The program applies regardless of the destination customers are flying to,” said the statement.
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