Spring keeps getting more and more interesting. As if it wasn’t enough with #Leggingsgate, #Bumpgate, and Delta’s operations debacle, American is now on the hot seat thanks to #Strollergate, an incident where in-flight crew member allegedly violently took a stroller from a lady with a baby and hit her, just missing the child. The airline announced the worker was removed from duty. American Airlines, surely remembering United’s delayed and poor initial response less than two weeks ago, quickly responded by upgrading the victim to first class and releasing a statement:
We have seen the video and have already started an investigation to obtain the facts. What we see on this video does not reflect our values or how we care for our customers. We are deeply sorry for the pain we have caused this passenger and her family and to any other customers affected by the incident. We are making sure all of her family’s needs are being met while she is in our care.
Well done, American. I’m sure, though, they would’ve preferred not having to deal with this at all. This latest incident, though, makes one thing clear: no matter what procedures are in place, things are going to happen. Whether we choose to villify a whole company for the actions of a few is a different topic. As I wrote in a previous post, if Dr. Dao had followed law enforcement orders, nothing would’ve ever gone wrong. Actually, he’ll be rewarded with a huge payout for not following orders. Are the rules/procedures that triggered those orders stupid/ridiculous? Irrelevant. If you don’t agree, then don’t fly the airline anymore. I hate driving in Seattle, because of its suuuuper slow speed limit. Does that mean that I should go ahead and drive twice the speed limit because I think the rules are stupid?
Well the same seems to have happened here. If this woman had not insisted in keeping her stroller when clearly it couldn’t come on board, nothing would’ve ever happened. That being said, what the FA did was inexcusable at every level and he should be ashamed of himself. The airline will need to assume responsibility and likely payout.
Does this help United?
Maybe. Like I wrote before, the fact that United’s video is bloody and definitely more dramatic than American’s, should keep the public more upset at United. But these subsequent incidents should help us to have the right perspective when they happen. Thanks to social media, they’re there for everyone to see. In a way, it’s great that they become public because it unmasks extremely inappropriate behavior from individuals of an airline, in American’s case or from law enforcement in United’s. But on the other hand, social media has a way of carrying emotions that sometimes cloud the facts a bit for many. Was any United employee violent toward the victim in #Bumpgate? Was the passenger asked prior to the incident to disembark on several occasions, and refused? Did United employees break any ‘current’ rules and guidelines with which they are provided by the company? Questions like these were consistently ignored by the masses and shouldn’t have been. My hope is not to minimize the airlines’ hand in all of this. After all, they make the rules and they train their employees, so ultimately they are responsible. Instead, I hope that we can look at each of these cases from the right perspective and a factual standpoint.
It’s ironic that Delta is the one that benefits the most here, and yet their recent operations debacle directly affected so many more passengers than United’s or American. Furthermore, they continue to deceitfully devalue their loyalty program to the point that it’s absolute garbage. How is this any better?
In conclusion, our 3 major airlines are both guilty and innocent. They’ve shown more concern about profit than their passengers, meanwhile also provided us with great value at one point or another. Let’s hope that what’s happened this year changes things for the better for us customers. Just don’t be fooled. When things happen do take a step back. Analyze the facts. Compare the situation to others in life. Sleep on it. And theeeeen, determine how you feel and act accordingly. For the most part you’ll find that no coin has just one side.