A couple of weeks ago, I commented about the Hudson River landing of US Airways flight 1549. Since then, there has been universal praise for the swift and professional actions of the crew, and the miraculous fact that there were no fatalities or even serious injuries.
That is, until the topic of compensation came up.
US Airways, as a courtesy to the passengers of that flight, gave them all “Chairman’s Preferred” status in their frequent flyer program. That means they get the same treatment as people who normally fly more than 100,000 miles per year. This includes automatic upgrades to First Class on domestic flights, two free upgrades on overseas flights, and double frequent flyer miles for every mile flown.
Cool, right? It was a nice gesture, especially considering that the airline didn’t do anything wrong. A freak accident, caused by nature and totally outside of the airlines control, was handled brilliantly by the airline’s employees. So how did the passengers, who were previously gushing about how great the airline crew was, react to this gift?
Some said it wasn’t enough.
Okay, I understand… They paid a lot of money for the flight, and they almost certainly lost all of their luggage in the accident. But nearly all of them booked that flight using a credit card (it’s the 21st century, after all) so Visa, Mastercard, or American Express will cover the expenses. And the airline didn’t do anything wrong, remember?
Not good enough.
So the airline has gone a step farther, and is offering $5,000 to every passenger from that flight. AND refunding the full price of their ticket. In addition to giving them a year of “Chairman’s Preferred” elite status.
Still not good enough for some.
A salesman from Charlotte named Joe Hart, who had bruises and a bloody nose, was quoted in USA Today as saying he, “would like to be made whole” by the airline. Because $5,000 isn’t enough for your bloody nose and bruises, which happened as a freak accident and completely without fault from the company you’re complaining to.
He also says he’s having trouble flying since the incident, and that each of the six flights he’s been on since then have been “progressively more difficult.” He’s got an attorney, naturally, and is waiting to decide what legal action to pursue until he sees “how things play out with US Airways.” He added that he is “hopeful US Airways understands the significance of the incident.”
You greedy son of a bitch. It’s not the airline’s fault, and they’re already doing much more than they need to. Government regulations from the Dept. of Transportation limit liability to $3,300 per passenger, so they’re already going above and beyond. AND they have an insurance specialist working with all of the passengers to ensure that anyone whose actual losses exceed $5,000 gets the full value of their losses.
Fortunately, not every passenger from flight 1549 is such a douchebag. One was quoted as saying, “US Air has been doing the right thing. Everyone is acting in a responsible way.” Another said that the airline has been in frequent contact and has treated him very well. A third summed up the situation beautifully, in my opinion: “Everything that’s gone can be replaced. My life cannot be replaced.”
Well said, ma’am. I’m relieved that many of you are showing an appropriate amount of gratitude and understanding. And kudos to the airline for being so generous — my loyalty to US Airways has never been stronger.
Screw you, you greedy bastards who are trying to milk the airline for every penny you can get. You should be ashamed of yourselves.