BEIJING — As if “nut rage” weren’t bad enough, Asia got another dose of air rage this week when Chinese tourists went berserk on a flight to Thailand, scalding a flight attendant with noodles and hot water and then threatening to bomb the plane, apparently because they were unhappy about their seating arrangements.

Chinese authorities say the tourists could face severe punishment for badly damaging “the image of the Chinese people,” after a video and photographs of the incident were widely circulated on the Internet.

It comes at a time when Chinese people are traveling more and more widely but gaining a reputation for unruly behavior. Authorities have been urging them for years to behave with more civility when abroad, although with limited effect.

The plane, a budget Thai AirAsia flight from Bangkok to the Chinese city of Nanjing, was forced on Thursday to return to Bangkok, where the pilot asked four passengers to disembark. They were reportedly unhappy about not being able to sit together on the plane and continued to berate cabin staff even after alternative seating was organized.

In a video uploaded by a passenger and later broadcast by China Central Television, a man is seen angrily shouting and pointing, cursing and threatening to bomb the plane, and insisting that he had money to pay for better seats. “You think a big boss can’t afford to spend some money,” he says at one point, referring to himself.

The woman who took the video can be heard remarking that she had to post it online because it was “shameful.”

Earlier in the week, the daughter of Korea Air’s chairman was publicly shamed after ordering the head steward to be removed from a flight after being served nuts in a bag rather than on a plate. That story seemed to show the arrogance that comes with the power of South Korea’s huge conglomerates.

Cho Hyun-ah, also known as Heather Cho, daughter of the chairman of Korean Air, quit her position was an executive at South Korea's flag carrier after news of her "nut rage" at a flight attendant went viral. (Song Eun-seok/News1 via Reuters)

The Chinese version showed that tycoons traveling first class are not the only people behaving badly on airlines these days, with tempers often frayed on tightly packed budget flights all over the world.

But it is also being seen here as another example of how some Chinese tourists are letting their country down with a lack of civility abroad. Last year, a Chinese teenager won notoriety for carving his name on a 3,500-year-old relief at Egypt’s Luxor Temple, while other tourists were photographed washing their feet at the Louvre in Paris.

On a visit to the Maldives in September, President Xi Jinping effectively apologized for the behavior of his fellow countrymen, saying China should educate its citizens to be “civilized” when traveling abroad, telling them to refrain from tossing water bottles or damaging coral reefs, and urging them to eat more local food and less instant noodles.

In a statement issued Saturday, China’s tourism administration did not say what punishment the tourists could face but suggested that the tour group leader also could punished for failing to issue proper behavior guidelines and that the tourists’ “personal credit record” could suffer.

The former Korean Airlines executive who held up a flight over the way her nuts were served apologized for the incident over which she was forced to resign. (Reuters)

Gu Jinglu contributed to this report.