Airline asks woman to take pregnancy test before flight to US island
Airline demands female passenger, 25, takes a pregnancy test before boarding flight from Hong Kong to US island of Saipan over immigration concerns
- Midori Nishida asked by Hong Kong Express Airways to take a pregnancy test
- She was travelling from Hong Kong to US island of Saipan to visit her parents
- Crew asked her to go to toilet and take test despite stating she was not pregnant
- Airline said test was required to ensure ‘US immigration laws not undermined’
A Japanese woman was reportedly asked by an airline to take a pregnancy test before boarding a flight to a US island.
Midori Nishida was travelling from Hong Kong to Saipan to visit her parents when she was asked by staff at Hong Kong Express Airways to prove she was not pregnant.
After telling crew she was not pregnant, Nishida was taken to the toilet by an employee, who made her urinate on a strip test before they would allow her to get on the plane.
Once she got to the airport for her flight, she says the airline asked her to take a ‘fit-to-fly’ assessment, which includes a pregnancy test.
A Hong Kong Express Airways at at Hong Kong International Airport (file image). The airline apologized for their policy of asking female passengers to take a pregnancy test and said they were reviewing it
Despite already marking on a check-in questionnaire that she was not pregnant, Nishida was still asked to take the test.
The result was negative and the 25-year-old was the allowed to board.
Saipan is a US territory and the island is part of the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific.
The airline reportedly said the test was required to ensure ‘US immigration laws were not being undermined’.
Nishida called the experience ‘humiliating and frustrating’.
Hong Kong Express Airways apologized for the incident and said the firm was reviewing the policy in a statement to The Wall Street Journal.
Saipan, one of the Northern Mariana Islands, in the Pacific Ocean. Midori Nishida was travelling from Hong Kong to the island to visit her parents when staff at Hong Kong Express Airways asked her to prove she was not pregnant
The airline said: ‘In response to concerns raised by authorities in Saipan, we took actions on flights to Saipan from February 2019 to help ensure US immigration laws were not being undermined.
‘We would like to apologize unreservedly to anyone who has been affected by this.
‘We have immediately suspended the practice while we review it.’
Between 2015 and 2016, 715 babies of foreign parentage were born in Saipan, 95 per cent of whom were of Chinese descent.
More tourists than locals gave birth on the island in 2018, according to US immigration figures.
It is not illegal for expectant mothers to travel to the US specifically to give birth, as long as they can cover all costs and do not lie about the purpose of travel.
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