I’m glad that American Airlines learned something from the two recent viral incidents that United Airlines woefully mishandled. At least it knows how to apologize.
Earlier today I wrote about another onboard altercation that has gone viral this morning. Unlike two recent incidents on Delta and United, a FA appears to be responsible for this incident.
But let’s be real–facts often don’t matter. The video and initial narratives from onboard passengers are enough to crucify the FA no matter what happened before the camera started filming. AA is smart to realize this and quickly issued the following statement on a page entitled “crisis alert”–
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. After electing to take another flight, we are taking special care of her and her family and upgrading them to first class for the remainder of their international trip.
The actions of our team member captured here do not appear to reflect patience or empathy, two values necessary for customer care. In short, we are disappointed by these actions. The American team member has been removed from duty while we immediately investigate this incident.”
Three Things AA Does Well
AA does three things well here. First, it apologizes unequivocally. Stating “we are deeply sorry for the pain we have caused” is so much better than the usual sorry if we offended you line. Second, it has acted decisively. The statement came out quickly and the FA has been removed from duty. Third, AA showed compassion. Whatever happened was clearly traumatic for the mother of twins. AA says is upgraded the family to first class for the remainder of their international trip. That’s great customer service.
So from the start, AA is showing that it can handle controversy better than United.
AA learned from the mistake of United and acted to quickly diffuse the situation. We’ll see over the next couple days if this story dies or proliferates, but for now AA is doing all it can to minimize damage.