I saw the news the other day that the U.S. Department of Transportation had fined three airlines in connection with the stranding of passengers on a regional jet in Rochester, Minn., this past summer.
You might recall that I blogged about this incident when it occurred. What set me off then was not so much that it happened, not so much that mistakes were made, but more the fact that the airlines involved (the major carrier whose code was on the flight, the regional carrier that operated the flight and the regional carrier providing ground services) attempted to deflect all blame. Rather than accept responsibility, they attempted to blame the airport and TSA. Perhaps they figured no one would know the difference. This attempt to pass the buck infuriated me, and many others. As I wrote at the time, “This is bull.”
Let’s be clear. Mistakes happen. But what should never happen is the kind of shameless buck-passing that occurred after this incident. We can all do better, and we all make mistakes. I guess some figured that the press, the public and the politicians would just believe that it was the airport’s fault and TSA’s fault. And maybe one day they would have believed that. But those days are over.
All of us involved in aviation must continue to do better by our passengers. Truth telling is a good place to start. I take no pleasure in seeing anyone fined, but I am delighted that DOT recognized what really happened. I hope the result is a re-doubled effort by all of us in the industry to make passenger service Job #1.