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THE INC. LIFE

These Airline Passengers Were Threatened With Police If They Didn’t Erase Videos of Customer Service

This looks very much like customer disservice.

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BY Chris Matyszczyk - 10 Jan 2018

These Airline Passengers Were Threatened With Police If They Didn't Erase Videos of Customer Service

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

 

I may have mentioned before that some airline employees can act like police officers more than customer service types.

This is largely because airlines have put them in that position.

What happened last Friday, however, shows just the sort of liberties some airline employees seem to take and the sort of liberties they'll seem to happily deny others.

Passengers on a Porter Airlines flight were stranded at Boston.

The weather wasn't exactly kind. Neither, apparently, was the customer service.

As Canada's Global News reports, passengers were stuck inside the plane on the tarmac for two hours.

They were then herded back inside the terminal. Their flight was canceled. Its doors had frozen and its flight crew were now beyond their working schedules.

Worse, the public address system seemed to be no more functional than the Porter plane.

So each passenger had to go up individually to find out how the airline might be able to get them home.

You might imagine that some got frustrated and did what so many frustrated flyers do: they took out their phones to video their experiences.

You'd think that airline personnel would be used to it by now.

Instead, as passenger Kira Wegler told Global News: "The personnel came from behind the desk and started threatening us to call the police if we don't delete the videos off of our phones and show evidence that it's gone from our trash bin."

This doesn't make the airline look good, does it?

Indeed, there is no law -- either in the U.S. or Canada -- preventing you from filming airline staff, as long as it's not in some restricted or secure area.

No more than there's a law preventing you from filming police officers, as long as you're not obstructing them in the course of their duties.

Sadly, some passengers deleted their videos. But not all.

What remains paints an extremely dim view of the airline employee.

I contacted Porter to ask for its view.

A spokesman told me: "We apologize to everyone who was affected by the flight delay and for the information provided about taking video."

He added: "In this particular case, there was a misunderstanding by the team member involved that taking video at this particular airport beyond the security checkpoint was not permitted."

The Porter spokesman insisted, however: "There was no direct statement that passengers would be arrested."

Because of course when you threaten a customer with the police, they wouldn't ever think that it's because you're going to have them arrested.

Indeed, some passengers were sure that arrest was the absolute intent.

This wasn't, however, the first airline employee who's tried to threaten passengers who video them in their (alleged) customer service roles with police intervention.

Who could forget, for example, the United Airlines gate agent who didn't take to a passenger filming her and called the police?

As for the Porter passengers, they ended up in Boston for three more days.

They're only entitled to compensation if the cause is mechanical, rather than weather.

The airline therefore takes the view that the weather caused the frozen doors, so it's not paying passengers for their pain.

"We assisted with finding hotels in the area for those who needed accommodation. Porter does not typically pay for these costs when flights are affected by weather, but we do our best to help find reduced rates," the Porter spokesman told me.

Well, that's alright then.

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