Hong Kong Express Airways sorry after forcing passenger to take pregnancy test

Telegraph Reporters
Hong Kong Express Airways, which is owned by Cathay Pacific, apologised

An airline has apologised after its staff told a passenger to take a pregnancy test before she could board a flight to an island in the US Pacific.

Midori Nishida, 25, was flying to Saipan, part of the Northern Mariana Islands, to visit her family. The islands have become a popular place for foreign women to give birth as it makes them eligible for US citizenship.

Ms Nishida had already completed a questionnaire before the flight to indicate that she was not pregnant but was escorted by Hong Kong Express Airways staff to a toilet and given a strip to urinate on. The tests came back negative and she was allowed to board.

She said the ordeal "very humiliating and frustrating" and said the airline did not respond to her complaints.

The airline said it was trying to "ensure US immigration laws were not undermined" but has now apologised "unreservedly".

"We took actions on flights to Saipan from February 2019 to help ensure US immigration laws were not being undermined," the airline told NBC. "We have immediately suspended the practice while we review it.”

The company also said: "Under our new management, we recognise the significant concerns this practice has caused."

In 2018, tourists gave birth to 582 babies on the islands, while only 492 were born to permanent residents, according to an annual report by the Commonwealth for the Northern Mariana Islands.