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Just How Badly Can You Treat Passengers - And Get Away With It?

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Just How Badly Can You Treat Passengers - And Get Away With It?

Old 7th Sep 2023, 08:31
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Just How Badly Can You Treat Passengers - And Get Away With It?

From BBC News 06-Sept-23

​​​​​​Air Canada has apologised after kicking two passengers off a flight for refusing to sit in vomit-smeared seats.

Susan Benson, who was on the Las Vegas-Montreal service, said the pilot warned the passengers they would be put on a no-fly list if they kept complaining. She added that staff had tried to cover "a bit of a foul smell" with perfume and coffee grounds. Air Canada said the passengers "clearly did not receive the standard of care to which they were entitled to". "We didn't know at first what the problem was," Ms Benson posted on Facebook of the flight late last month. "Apparently, on the previous flight someone had vomited. The flight attendant was very apologetic, but explained that the flight was full. "She said staff "placed coffee grinds in the seat pouch and sprayed perfume", but that the seat and seatbelt were "wet and there was still visible vomit residue". Ms Benson said the pilot came out of the cockpit after several minutes of "back-and-forth". The passengers were told "they could leave the plane… and organise flights on their own dime, or they would be escorted off by security and placed on a no-fly list!" They were then escorted off by security.
Ms Benson said the row made her "ashamed to be a Canadian and ashamed of Air Canada".

Air Canada said it was "reviewing this serious matter" and that "operating procedures were not followed correctly in this instance".
We have all been there.... You pitch up somewhere away from base with limited time for a turnround. An inbound passenger has soiled their seat(s) and the superficial cleaning available to you is nowhere near capable of deep-cleaning the trouble away. Now in this case time was not limited as, being the land of the free, the crew would have to clear immigration before getting back on exactly the same aircraft to go back to base. (I never understood why a turnround crew is not allowed to remain on the aircraft in the US like any other country.) In any case cleaning is the limiting option because most airlines don't carry spare seat cushions or seat belts for this eventuality. So the crew get back to the aircraft, the cleaners have gone but the offensive discharge & smell remains - What do you do? The answer is - get the cleaners back but everyone outside the crew is worried about their critical path to dispatch and nobody wants to take a hit for the delay!

Apparently it is now acceptable to subject passengers to any-old treatment and then tell them they will have to pay for another flight themselves if they elect not to fly. Having elevated customer frustration levels to a maximum you then throw a bit more petrol on the fire and threaten them with going on a no-fly list if they refuse to disembark. (To be fair the flight was full but customer frustration tends not to appreciate that when you already have a boarding card for an expensive flight in your hand).

It is 100% predictable that these issues land in the crew's lap when boarding is almost complete, but the attitude that passengers can be threatened with security measures for complaining about an airline's failings has become the new normal. I appreciate the crew were in a hurry to get through the BS immigration process but those seats should have been blocked in the passenger system on arrival and only released when the problem was fixed to the Captain's satisfaction. All these things are avoidable.

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Old 7th Sep 2023, 09:34
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Post covid, pax are no longer customers, just a source of revenue. Airlines now seem to be run for the benefit of staff.
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Old 7th Sep 2023, 10:32
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Unfortunately it now appears to be the way of the world, customer service is now no longer a priority, revenue is.

It is not just confined to the airline business, but I have heard many stories about lack of customer service in the car industry where it takes weeks to get a car fixed because they're arguing with the manufacture about who's going to pay for it!
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Old 7th Sep 2023, 10:45
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Don't airliner aircraft each carry a couple of spare seat cushions for this very reason? I am pretty sure that we did. I will check with Mrs Uplinker when she gets in.

But it is not acceptable to have passengers escorted off the flight by security for refusing to sit on a wet smelly cushion - there must be more to this story.
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Old 7th Sep 2023, 11:28
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Originally Posted by ZFT
Post covid, pax are no longer customers, just a source of revenue. Airlines now seem to be run for the benefit of staff.
A lot of crew would argue that this is clearly not the case; Covid revealed exactly how valued crew are by shareholders.
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Old 7th Sep 2023, 12:27
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Originally Posted by Level bust
Unfortunately it now appears to be the way of the world, customer service is now no longer a priority
Seeing this also in the restaurant and bar business.
Originally Posted by Abrahn
Agreed customer service is tending to terrible in lots of places.
I've been going on about this, as regards the airline industry, for about 15 years. After 9-11, there was a slow but sure degradation of the attitude expressed towards the passengers. COVID only made it worse.
The pilots are not being treated well either.
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Old 7th Sep 2023, 12:47
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Originally Posted by Uplinker
Don't airliner aircraft each carry a couple of spare seat cushions for this very reason? I am pretty sure that we did. I will check with Mrs Uplinker when she gets in.

But it is not acceptable to have passengers escorted off the flight by security for refusing to sit on a wet smelly cushion - there must be more to this story.
I'm sure it was part of our weekly or monthly check, to check the spare seat covers.
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Old 7th Sep 2023, 13:31
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It seems like this is an ongoing competition among the North American carriers (and probably others, my recent experience is limited to North America).

Customers are treated as inconveniences (at best, threatened with arrest at worst) by staff.
Staff is treated as an expense to be minimzed by management.
Management is treated to bonuses as the stock price goes up.
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Old 7th Sep 2023, 14:46
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Soon to a flight near you - an extra fee for not having a seat soaked in bodily fluids.
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Old 7th Sep 2023, 15:39
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Originally Posted by ZFT
Airlines now seem to be run for the benefit of staff.
Do you seriously mean that? I don't see the staff reaping any benefit. Most legacy airlines employ their own staff at base and handling agents wearing the airline's uniform down-route. Most LoCos simply use handling agents. Pretty much everywhere the staff have been transferred from one contract to another to their detriment over the years. There is no loyalty to a brand or company any more... ground-staff both handling agents and legacy staff have been shat on by their employers without a second thought, hardly a recipe for good customer service. They turn up for their shift, do their utmost to avoid conflict with angry passengers and then go home. Their relationship with their employer is purely transactional.

Crews now have a major problem with sorting out issues at the aircraft door that never would have made it that far in the past. We talk a lot about the slices of the cheese lining up to precipitate an accident. When I started in this business everyone involved with the dispatch of an aircraft was qualified, experienced and diligent. Now everyone's role has been devalued as far as possible towards minimum qualification and minimum wage. In time gone by the Flight Crew were the final arbiters of safety, now they are the ONLY arbiters of safety.... If it gets past us we buy the farm. With so much reliance on others reporting dispatch tasks to you it is seriously worrying to operate in an environment where colleagues are so demotivated they would rather look the other way than engage in a safety process.
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Old 7th Sep 2023, 16:10
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Thumbs down

Air Canada Engineering staff or their agents would normally hold a stock of spare seat covers, belts and cushions for this very purpose. When the crew get on board their first task is to complete a security check at every sear row which would include checking the cleanliness etc. Normally cleaners would be recalled and engineers called to fix any cabin defects before boarding is commenced. Obviously, the checks were not carried out properly leading to an embarrassing incident. Then this was further mishandled by their staff.

Did they really expect their passengers to sit in wet vomit 🤮 and not protest about it!
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Old 7th Sep 2023, 16:15
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Pre 9/11, put them on the jump-seat/seats. Free food and drink, assuming it isn't already, and a note to the company to offer them a free flight anywhere on the network.

Post 9/11 (at least in UK, and prior to my retirement) no chance.
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Old 7th Sep 2023, 16:41
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Originally Posted by Uplinker
But it is not acceptable to have passengers escorted off the flight by security for refusing to sit on a wet smelly cushion - there must be more to this story.
Possibly the definition of "refuse".
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Old 7th Sep 2023, 17:15
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If these guys ended on a no fly list what does the government think about littering these lists with this retaliation for a service mishap?
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Old 7th Sep 2023, 17:19
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That was a Bio-hazard situation...it quite possibly is gonna bite A/C in the rump...
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Old 7th Sep 2023, 17:36
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How badly can you treat passengers? Apparetnly much worse.

Reports of Easy Jet deplaning a whole aircraft in row over "rude" passenger, a pregnant woman no less and with a disabled child!

How many points do you get for that one!
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Old 7th Sep 2023, 19:13
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Originally Posted by EEngr
Possibly the definition of "refuse".
According to reports there was a police officer traveling on the flight. He stated that at no time were the passengers abusive to the cabin crew.
What person would agree to sit in a wet, vomit stained seat?
The crew and especially the supposed Capt. were way out of line.
A quick, sincere, apology and offers to pay for and expedite their departure on the next available flight on any airline should have been offered if it was necessary.
As an aside If the passengers had checked bags those would have had to be located and offloaded due to security regulations. Surely in that time that would have taken they could have replaced the cushions, covers and seat belts. For Gawd’s sake they were in Las Vegas a major airport…not a bush strip in a jungle somewhere.
I highly doubt that this was the first time someone has vomited on an airline seat.
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Old 7th Sep 2023, 21:32
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...me quoting me...

Originally Posted by BlankBox
That was a Bio-hazard situation...it quite possibly is gonna bite A/C in the rump...
aaand...feds getting involved...

https://montreal.ctvnews.ca/health-a...woes-1.6550430
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Old 7th Sep 2023, 22:38
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Search link for vomit

Witness passenger interview on CBC


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The adjacent pax were forced to endure the nauseating fumes all the way back to Montreal. At the very least the offending cushions should have been removed, bagged and stowed in the hold.

If replacement cushions were unavailable, it should have been handled at the gate beginning with a request for pax willing to rebook in return for compensation.
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Old 8th Sep 2023, 02:32
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Well, since I have a travel-and-vomit story to tell . . . what the heck.

I had nodded off to sleep on a passenger train running between two major cities, in the U.S., a couple summers ago. I was sitting in the window seat; the aisle seat was empty, but a small duffel-like bag I was carrying around was on that seat. The train car wasn't quite three-quarters full. And despite its sometimes pathetic public image and reputation, the coach seats on Amtrak are pretty decent - I mean if a person can tolerate basic transportation, that is.

So I snapped awake to the sensation of that really unmistakable odor. Some clown had puked in the aisle and, unluckily for me, also quite a bit on the duffel bag. But luckily for me, nothing on me or my seat.

The train crew were entirely helpful in bringing stuff to clean up the duffel bag as best I could. (It met an overdue fate once I got to destination, of course.) The thing was, the puking culprit did not report himself or herself, and anyone who witnessed what had occurred evidently was party to some traveling pukers' code of silence.

So, two things. The train crew were very helpful, and courteous throughout - it can be done. Second, the odor . . . I can't understand how anyone would expect passengers to endure same for any length of time, let alone Sin City to Montreal.
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