I have to admit that when I first read the story about a disabled Delta Airlines customer being forced to crawl across the tarmac to a wheelchair that I thought there’s no way that this could be true. Would Delta Airlines customer service policies not cover something so basic as dealing with disabled passengers? Of course my first reaction was that if I had provided customer service this bad then I simply wouldn’t be in business. How is it that these larger corporations are able to get away with this type of customer service? Or is it that airline travel has truly become this bad in North America?
Or Is It Simply Another Case of Us, the Customer, Accepting Bad Service to Get a Better Price?
Here’s the rundown: a man in Hawaii, Baraka Kanaan, says that one of the incidents (yes it happened more than once to him) occurred during a trip last summer to Massachusetts from Hawaii. Mr. Kanaan claims that in July of 2012, Delta Airlines forced him to crawl down the aisle of the plane, crawl across the tarmac to his awaiting wheelchair. Mr. Kanaan became disabled in 2000 when a car accident left him unable to walk and dependent on a wheelchair. As the story goes, a Delta Airlines representative assured him that he would receive the proper treatment on his next flight. So on his return trip, believe it or not, he says that he had to repeat the same procedure as there was no equipment available yet again. This time, however, Delta Airlines offered cardboard so that he wouldn’t get his clothes dirty. How nice of them.
Of Course Delta Airlines Customer Service Policy States That Should Never Have Happened
But it did. Now don’t get me wrong, I am sure that a company like Delta Airlines does indeed have a customer service policy on how to treat disabled people. However, I’m not so sure that Delta employees are being trained properly on how to administer this policy.
A lawsuit has now been filed in federal court. So we shall see what the outcome of this will be.
Here is Mr. Kanaan”s Facebook page where he has posted a video explaining the course of events.
Are We Allowing Customer Service Standards to Drop?
Here’s the thing. I am sure that Delta Airlines will survive yet another negative image story. It seems that we are becoming more concerned with getting the lowest price possible than we are with getting the best service possible.
And this infuriates me.
I have written about customer service standards in the event planning industry here before.
Here are a few links that are related to customer service issues:
I’ve decided that I’m going to start a series of articles that relate to customer service standards in the event planning and hospitality industry. I’m going to reach out to industry colleagues as well as my various networking groups to get further feedback from industry professionals. I don’t think I’ve made it any secret on how I feel about service standards dropping. During my, now lengthy, career in event planning and hospitality I have always been taught superior customer service standards are crucial. No matter what price a customer is paying.
When I talk about customer service standards I’m not just talking about a server being rude. I’m talking about people in our industry not even knowing what the service standards should be. And that is an issue. As we deal with a lot of new people coming into the event planning industry I feel it’s crucial that we, the old guard as it were, stress to these new people the importance of establishing customer service standards. We owe it to them and we owe it to the industry!