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20 years

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ten-Hut! There’s a Soldier on Board…

Apparently, Delta did not at first hear that announcement. This week, news (via YouTube) broke that soldiers returning from Afghanistan and other deployments were charged for bags when checking in on Delta airlines – up to $200 for their fourth bag. Immediately, advocates, politicians and others called for a refund or a boycott or both. In a short timeframe there were 250k hits on this YouTube video. Delta quickly responded with an apology, changed their policy to allow 4 or 5 bags and promised to refund the $2,800 worth of such fees they collected from America’s finest. That’s the power and the equalizing effect of the internet!

Soldiers risk their lives for us and generally every American citizen applauds any special consideration they get in return. At CommCore, we’re frequent fliers and it is always gratifying to hear about one of our consultants coughing up his/her upgraded seat to a soldier they spot in the waiting area before boarding.

So, it is understandable that Delta was given a very short leash to respond when they were caught treating our soldiers unfairly. In fact, many comments have been posted saying that as quick as Delta responded, it wasn’t quick enough. You can’t satisfy everyone.

This example illustrates what we have been preaching for 25 years – if a misstep was made, nothing reverses a reputation down-spiral better than speedy, decisive action. This will indeed tarnish Delta’s image in the short-term, but it would have gotten exponentially worse if they hadn’t immediately owned up to it and corrected their mistake. One often wonders why some politicians don’t see the lesson this provides!

What are your thoughts? Is speed always one of the most important factors in a crisis? Did Delta act correctly and quickly enough? Will they recover fully and quickly?

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