Ever since David Dao was dragged off a United Express flight by police and beaten last April it’s been clear to most people that we have a problem in the airline industry. Customer service problems are turned into law enforcement problems.
In our hyper-security focused environment challenging an airline employee is treated as a crime, or a security risk. Express concern to a flight attendant moving your bags in the overhead bin? You may be a ‘problem’ (read: threat) to the aircraft. And that mindset has spread from the aircraft, and the gate, to elsewhere across the airport. The baggage claim office, which is outside security, may be the least likely place but it seems to be there too.
- On August 24 Delta lost the bags of a businesswoman. She proceeded to the baggage office at Boston Logan airport. She felt she was getting terrible customer service so she asked to speak to the manager.
- The Delta employee taking the claim refused to give the manager’s name, saying it’s Delta’s policy that employees cannot give out the names of other employees. It seems odd to me not to make a manager’s name available. Great managers want customers to contact them, even if they have a team who actually screens the messages due to volume.
- This woman was videotaping the interaction. When the Delta employee realized that, she immediately called the police.
— OurAppGuy (@Ourappguy) September 18, 2018
She feels the incident escalated to police more quickly because of her race. I have no way of knowing whether that’s true, or if Delta’s baggage claim office calls the police on customers as part of their customer service plan. Regardless the video, which Delta asked her down, is clear that there were never any threats made.
People do not like being filmed, but no law was being broken and no one was in physical danger. This was a customer service issue. Outsourcing customer service to law enforcement is a terrible trend in the airline industry.