American Airlines Issues Memo Of Apology Tips To Staff
If you’ve flown American Airlines this summer, you’ve most likely experienced some sort of operational issue from lengthy flight delays to catering shortages that may have tacked unwanted hours on to your travel time or resulted in a noticeable degradation of the available inflight service offerings.
Long, Hot Summer
Passengers aren’t the only ones who’ve been suffering as American’s operation has gone off the rails. AA’s staff has been left to pick up the pieces of a broken system as angry passengers demand answers from an airline that many feel is consistently failing to provide an acceptable level of service.
A Dallas Morning News article describes how the airline’s scheduling practices, in the wake of the 737 MAX grounding, have created insurmountable inefficiencies which the airline has been blaming almost exclusively on an ongoing labor dispute with mechanics and the unpredictable summer weather.
“The Perfect Apology” Memo
American’s management has sent DFW-based flight attendants a list of helpful tips to help them “apologize better” to inconvenienced travelers and it’s not going over very well. These exhausted employees, who’ve witnessed the airline’s deterioration from the inside for years now, are expressing their desire to hear apologies from senior executives to passengers and workers for years of mismanagement.
“I’m fresh out of apologies! It’s time for management to start apologizing for the big mess they’ve made!” — Suzanne, American Airlines Flight Attendant
In the memo:
“It’s important we keep our company’s purpose, to care for people on life’s journey, at the forefront of every customer interaction. This includes doing what we can to ensure more flights arrive on time. However, when we face IROP (irregular operations) days. maintenance delays, catering issues, customer emotions can escalate, and you may need to offer an apology to acknowledge how they feel. I know it’s easier said than done.”
“I feel very insincere when I have to keep apologizing to passengers for things I know the company has no intention of correcting.” — Keith, American Airlines Flight Attendant
“An apology should always include:
A detailed account of the situation
Acknowledgement of the hurt or damage done as it shows you validate their feelings and the customer begins to sense you understand the situation.
Taking responsibility without making excuses for the situation is important as the apology is about them and how they feel.
Offer a form of resolution whenever possible.”
“Often a simple apology and acknowledgement on how a customer feels can have a tremendous impact. I hope the tips above will aide you in your ability to help our customers when we have not lived up to our standards.”
So what measures is American Airlines management taking to repair the airline’s operations? It’s not clear — especially when the only topic covered in this memo is how to create the perfect apology.