I don’t know about you but I’m very concerned about the way that members of the traveling public are being treated by a number of US airlines recently.
Have I perhaps missed out on the fact that airline staff have declared this to be a “see how many passengers we can damage” month?
The big one was of course the case of Doctor David Dao who was injured while being forcibly dragged from his seat on United Flight 3411 in Chicago. The footage was more than cringe-worthy, and I found it hard to believe that airport police would treat anybody in this violent fashion.
I was gratified to see that United made a (hopefully very generous) settlement to Dr Dao as a result of this breakdown in communications, tearing up of the book on how to treat paying customers and of course totally demolishing years of goodwill for this particular airline.
I know that I, and possibly many others like me, will never again consider flying with United Airlines.
One of the messages that came out of this episode is the power of social media and the fact that the mobile phone is a tool that can come to the aid of people being mistreated.
That seems to me like a message that should be taken onboard by many businesses who deal with customers on a regular basis.
However, just days later, a similar confrontation between airline personnel and a passenger again showed up on social media video – this time American Airlines has come to the attention of the traveling public – in a bad way.
The departure of AA591 from San Francisco was disrupted as a result of a female passenger carrying a baby. It is alleged that a flight attendant hit the woman with a stroller before she was involuntarily escorted from the flight. Upon being challenged by another passenger the flight attendant was filmed challenging the passenger to a fight.
The score at this stage seems to be that AA has landed themselves in nearly as much PR trouble as United.
However, just to roll a fresh variation into the equation, news has surfaced today of a further airline related incident, this time involving Delta Airlines. This time, the flight was out of Maui, and the family of four were “booted off the flight” for refusing to relinquish a paid-for seat for a toddler. This seems to again be related to over-booking on the flight, although it seems that Delta hasn’t acknowledged this fact. Perhaps the most disturbing thing to come from this situation is that one of the flight attendants was overheard issuing threats to the parents that they would be subject to “jail time” and that their children would be placed into foster care if they refused to disembark.
Surely it’s about time that something needs to be done at a regulatory level to prevent these ongoing examples of airlines treating their paying customers in this way.
Once upon a time, the terminology for the main cabin of an aircrat was “cattle class”, yet I wonder whether cattle are ever treated as badly as the people in these examples of airlines behaving in such a fashion.
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