After another passenger vomited on a man sitting in first class on an American Airlines flight to Miami, AA responded with a canned note that did not address the situation or offer any compensation for what occurred.
American Airlines Responds To Passenger After Another Passenger Vomited on Him
Last month, a man boarded American Airlines flight 1174 from Philadelphia (PHL) to Miami (MIA) and staggered to his seat in the back. He appeared either sick or intoxicated, but this was not noticed by the over-worked gate agent (American Airlines has reduced gate agent staffing in a bid to cut costs).
Onboard, the man vomited in the lavatory. As he was being led off the airplane by a member of ground staff, he vomited again all over a first class passenger sitting in seat 2B.
The man wrote to American Airlines outlined what occurred and received this response:
Thank you for reaching out to us here in Customer Relations. I’m sorry to hear of your recent experience on board your flight to Miami.
Our employees strive to provide all of our customers with a safe and pleasant flying experience. In any public gathering, there may be occasions when conflict arises between people or when one individual’s actions bother another. We want to respect everyone’s rights, and we try to ensure you are not subjected to uncomfortable situations by other customers. For that reason, our flight attendants are instructed not to serve alcoholic beverages to any customer who appears to be intoxicated. In the face of any serious disturbance, our crews are trained to diffuse potentially volatile situations so as to ensure the safety and well-being of all our customers and crew members.
The comments that you shared with me today will be made available to our leadership team for further review and will be used to refine and update our practices. We want our customer journey to be the best in the industry, and we thank you for giving us the opportunity to drive change.
XXXXXX, from all of us at American Airlines we appreciate your loyalty since XXXX and we look forward to offering you a better experience aboard your next flight with us.
Having spoken to customer service agents at United Airlines about the volume of correspondence they must deal with, I have to imagine American Airlines is no different (and perhaps even worse, based upon its higher volume of flights and operational issues).
It is no doubt extremely difficult to hand tailor responses to every particular situation without creating a backlog months long.
And yet the response above is totally unsatisfying. It does not address the issue or the fact that the man vomited on him, at least in part, because an American Airlines agent was guiding him off the plane.
While technically not American Airlines’s fault (they served him no alcohol and it is not always possible to visually ascertain if someone is sick), American Airlines led him off the airplane and vomit is not generally considered a first class amenity one seeks out by flying AA.
Perhaps compensation was not even necessary (I tend to think it would have been a nice gesture to a long-time elite member who frequently buys first class tickets), but a nice note would surely have been nice.
A personalized note goes a long way, and would have greatly helped to show that American Airlines cared about what happened to the man. Instead, he received a canned response that was not worth the time it took to auto-generate it. Perhaps agents should instead just spend their time generating miles or vouchers instead of notes that do not even address what occurred onboard…