Airplanes on the airwaves
Airlines are filling the news stories these days, but unfortunately for them bad press is just bad press. After a series of embarrassing and shocking incidents, people are starting to distrust airlines and call for reform. But is airline customer service really suffering?
Or has the culture of cell phone cameras and sensationalized media created a mountain from a mole hill?
Many were shocked at the United Airlines debacle that went viral just last month. The video showed a disturbing incident between a passenger and airline authorities, who proceeded to violently drag him off off the plane, causing serious injuries. This caused a public outcry demanding action be taken against United.
With the videos that have occupied news airways in this last month, it doesn’t seem to be an isolated incident.
Delta airlines have been under fire after a video was made public showing an employee swatting a phone from a teen’s hand. The 12 year-old thought it was a good idea to film the agent try and explain a 17-hour delay amidst a sea of angry passengers. So of course, she was frustrated. The family, who is in the process of suing Delta, believes the employee “sought out and attacked and humiliated a child,” according to the attorney, to transfer blame for the delay.
Delta believes the teen was disrupting the agent’s ability to communicate with other passengers.
A passenger from Australia is taking action against American Airlines, citing their inability to provide comfortable and safe seating. He says he now suffers permanent neck and back injuries after being squashed by two obese passengers next to him. He was unable to change seats in the full flight, but he believes American agents should have made an exception.
So is this disregard for airline passengers intentional?
It may seem that way with the excess of viral videos. However, some blame sensationalism in the media for this skewed point of view. Once one story makes it to the top, more follow suit to build up the problem and the public gets more sensitive to the issue.
The truth is that airline complaints have decreased by almost 25% from last year.
Airline service has improved in all sectors: refunds, baggage, fares and customer care. Technology has given us a way to record everything, holding everyone responsible for their actions. However, it also gives the media a chance to alter public perception, and create sentiment or anger that may not be completely justified.