Friday, August 13, 2010

VERITAS: TOUCHDOWN – FLYING THE ANGRY SKIES

This week's perspective from Joe Chidley:

It was the ultimate Take-this-job-and-you-know-what move, and while there was a degree of God-I-wish-I-could-do-that resonance with people everywhere, I didn’t find anything heroic in JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater’s on-board meltdown and emergency chute slide into the world’s headlines. But let’s do what we do here at TD&F and look purely at the communications aspects. Slater gets a Touchdown for largely shutting up in the aftermath. He said a few words to a TV reporter who was waiting for him after making bail, and while he didn’t say much, he wisely resisted taking the bait when the reporter asked, “Tell me about rude passengers – talk about that for a minute.” Rather than using the prompt to try and defend his actions and put the blame on misbehaving passengers, Slater simply said “there are a lot of wonderful people out there.” He also said his action seemed to be “resonating” with people, and left it at that. The only other comments from Slater’s camp have been through his lawyer, who said Slater would like his job back and thinks the world of JetBlue. Well played. As for the airline, it also gets a Touchdown. The company kept quiet at first, but recognized that it had to walk the fine line between saying nothing and making any comment that could impact their employee’s right to privacy (at the end of the day, this was a personnel matter) or on the legal investigations that are underway. Solution? JetBlue used its corporate blog, where it often comments on issues at play in the airline travel world. Taking a light approach in keeping with their corporate brand, JetBlue noted that “the entire Internet” had lots to say about what went down, but that the company would simply just like “to recognize our 2,100 fantastic, awesome, and professional in-flight crew members for delivering the JetBlue Experience you've come to expect of us.” Communications kudos to both sides in this wacky slice of life drama.

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