For the past two years, most of the world has been on lockdown due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, K-Pop idols have been unable to see fans and rely on doing schedules online for everyone to watch. Yet, restrictions have started to ease, and groups are starting to travel.
Recently, Stray Kids jetted off to Saudi Arabia to perform alongside soloist Chungha in Riyadh.
On January 12 (KST), the members were seen at Incheon. As expected, a large number of media and fans were waiting to catch a glimpse of the members before they jetted off.
The members all looked flawless in their airport fashion and were respectful by allowing the media to take pictures.
Yet, one ongoing problem with idols traveling is the large crowds and risks that it poses at the airport. Although there have been fewer people due to the pandemic, this was not the case when Stray Kids arrived, and many watching on live streams noticed a significant crowd waiting at Incheon.
From the minute the boys finished having their pictures taken and started walking inside, it seemed like chaos with media pushing cameras into the members’ faces and fans trying to get close.
One moment that particularly caught fans’ attention and made them very worried was when one of the youngest members, Felix, was seemingly pushed over due to the large crowds.
Even after the members got into the airport, netizens described the crowds as just as busy. It was so busy that the members had to hold on to each other so that they stayed together and there wasn’t a risk of another fall.
As expected, when the clips were shared, fans shared their shock on social media at the lack of consideration and respect shown to the members.
They shared their anger at those who met them at the airport and JYP Entertainment for not ensuring better security or a safer route into the airport.
stray kids airport fashion recommendation pic.twitter.com/tKD6ZV9PwT
— mavie. (@sungsjeekies) January 12, 2022
NOBODY RESPECT STRAYKIDS AT THE AIRPORTS, NOBODY, THERE’S COVID, YOU DARE STICK YOUR PHONES ON THEIR HEADS, HYUNJIN HE’S PUSHED AROUND, FELIX TRIPPED/ PUSHED THE DOOR, YOU DIDN’T REALIZE IT WITH YOUR BEHAVIOR, YOU HAVE NO RESPECT FOR THE MEMBERS!
— ღ 𝐻𝑦𝑢𝑛𝑙𝑖𝑎𝑧𝑎𝑙𝑒𝑠🥟 (@hwang_angel_) January 12, 2022
Yet, many then went on to praise the STAYs who were waiting for the members in Saudi Arabia. Although images show that many fans were waiting, it was a lot more organized, and the members had a respectful and calm welcome.
However, it isn’t the first time artists’ safety at airports has been questioned. In 2020, TXT had similar experiences at Gimpo airport after returning from a Japanese schedule.
In 2021, ATEEZ arrived back in Seoul, and with a lack of staff and security, the members were mobbed by fans during a time where the pandemic was still very prevalent.
Once again, it raises concerns about the lack of boundaries between idols and fans. It also touches on the idea of some privacy and space while on schedules. Scenes like this are not safe for idols, media, or fans and need to be addressed.