I’m talking about passengers versus flight crew or gate agents—or vice versa.
Lawsuits and out-of-court settlements followed.
In each case, every airline ultimately responded with the same general apology. In their statements they added that they were shocked and saddened, and that what happened did not reflect their core values and culture.
Others might argue that the viral videos the world saw might confirm those core values and culture.
There’s a huge difference between aspirational values and operational ones, between corporate mission statements and real behavior.
How did this happen?
For many years, airline management has told front line employees—the folks who have direct public contact—all the things they are no longer allowed to do for passengers.
Some airlines called it “no waivers, no favors.”
It’s a strict adherence to the corporate bottom line and a focus on generation of revenue at all costs.
As a result, those gate and counter agents and flight crews have essentially been told—under threat of suspension or worse—that they no longer have permission to think in common sense terms to resolve problems.
Then, bad behavior often led to worse behavior for both airlines and passengers.
In official statements, a few airlines have announced new programs to retrain their staff.
I think they have their priorities confused.
Airlines need to retrain their management.
For more information about airlines and airports, check out:
- Know Your Rights When You’re on an Overbooked Flight
- Safety & Security Concerns Over the Electronics Ban
- How the Leggings Ban is a Reminder of Airline Dress Code
Keep reading for more travel tips.