Friday, November 10, 2017

Airlines instruct staffers to mind their conduct

Pune: The now infamous IndiGo passenger assault episode in Delhi has got all airlines on the back foot. Even as they continue to draw flak, some airlines have issued directives to the employees to remain calm and professional while dealing with passengers.
Airline staff stationed at the Pune airport, which hosts close to 11,000 passengers every day, said they have always maintained proper decorum while interacting with passengers. However, sometimes, irate passengers fail to understand their limitations.
A ground staff of IndiGo at the Pune airport told TOI, "We were told to be calm, professional and courteous to passengers. We were also forwarded the letter that the airline had sent to the aviation ministry and other seniors."
A SpiceJet official said their staff is trained to be courteous and polite. "At times, there are passengers who tend to argue for little or no reason. Flight delays cost us a lot and affect our work too, but some passengers just don't listen," an official said.
An Air India official, meanwhile, ruled out a fresh briefing on how to behave with passengers. "Our staff have always behaved well with the passengers in Pune and elsewhere. They don't need to be told or reminded," he said.
However, flyers believe more should be done to avoid a repeat of the Delhi incident. Frequent flyers feel stringent rules are needed to reign in restive airline employees.
"The flight (IndiGo 6E-302) was was scheduled to fly at 1.45 pm but took off only by 4.30 pm. At 2.30, an IndiGo employee announced that she has refreshments, but acted like she was donating food to beggars. When I objected, she ... rebuked me. I was humiliated," recalled Atul Athawale.
Other passengers speak of similar experiences. "Two months ago, a relative was travelling with a lot of luggage. The ground staff remarked that 'this is a flight, not a train.' How can they talk to passengers like that?" said Rahul Sharma, an IT employee.
10/11/17 Joy Sengupta/Times of India