Saturday, January 03, 2009

Air Tran apologizes - sort of

Like many a public figure caught doing something that could impact their bottom line, Air Tran issued an apology for severely screwing up the vacation plans of Atif Irfan, his family, and a family friend. The apology, issued mere hours after the airline insisted all actions taken [or not] were appropriate and that there was nothing for which they needed to apologize has a tinge of a "we're sorry that you are so overly sensitive that you were offended" smell
While Atif Irfan's brother described the airline's about face as surprising and generous, the apology that was issued still misses the mark. Yes, the airline finally agreed to reimburse the Irfan family and their friend for costs associated with a new flight & transport home in addition to granting the full refund for the Air Tran flights they were not permitted to take but they glossed over the fact that the airline itself unneccessarily and, to be honest, quite rudely, aggravated the situation by refusing to just rebook the group on the next flight out and publicly lying about the reasons why. Instead, they chose to point out that nobody on the flight got to Orlando on time without acknowledging their role in making the situation worse for 9 people in particular. Their apology, it seems, is focused on the need to follow security precautions in which air marshalls elevated the situation to the FBI. While, I'm sure, racism and ignorance was the underlying reason that other passengers relayed concerns about the conversation they overheard to the flight attendants, the family was not angry at the airline for doing what they had to do to ensure there was no real threat and that the passengers and crew could have a calm flight. The outcry about the incident was due to the manner the group was treated by Air Tran after they were not only cleared by the FBI, but after the FBI agents themselves requested the group be re-booked on a later flight.


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1 comment:

kccat said...

That doesn't sound like a real apology to me, well at least not to that family. It almost seemed like a pathetic attempt at an apology to the to the other passengers on the plane for their delay. Wow!