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How Airline Workers Learn to Deal With You

Here's a great article depicting the challenges of managing unruly behaviours experienced by the airline industry. It talks about the necessity to equip cabin staff with de-escalation skills, and speaks of the importance of clarity and the dexterity needed by staff to make it a win- win situation.

However it fails to address the International Air Transport Association lack of leadership in adding this essential training to their mandated ones. Physical training is not an adequate response to resistance and non-compliance. It also fails to identify the need for ground crew and CSRs to be trained at the very least in recognizing the signs of distress and getting the proper support to address them prior to boarding.

Read the article by Ron Lieber, published in the New York Times on April 22, 2017:

Quotes from the article:

  • Demand for air travel wavered, pricing came under pressure, fuel costs spiked, and the industry endured a wave of bankruptcies. Airlines cut staff, costs, legroom and amenities, even as security hassles grew and confusion reigned. “Never was the need for better customer service greater, and never was the money more scarce”

  • Mr. Francis, a two-decade veteran of the New York Police Department, learned from his mentor that 70 percent of people will do what you ask them to do as long as you explain why you want them to do it.

  • “What are we doing when we explain why?” Mr. Francis said. “We are showing people respect.”

  • “My job is to create a situation where people can comply with me and still save face,” he said. “If they do, I won just because they got an explanation.”

  • Someone who jumps at that choice straightaway may not need to experience the ill will that a threat might sow.

  • What is the pie chart of onboard passenger nonsense? Passenger on passenger conflicts Loud electronics Porn Seat reclining Baggage issues and fees Loud conversations

  • In 99.9% of the situations, it is not what the passenger did, but how they responded when confronted or asked to do something

  • Airlines have watered down the definition of potential security risks — and not in a good way. “They’ve created a space in which you’re asking crew to evaluate what constitutes a threat,” he said. “Which could include refusing instructions, whatever those may be, which gradually gets interpreted as talking back to a crew member or just being rude, which may be unintentional.”


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