In this Time of the COVID-19 Crisis, A Little Understanding and Kindness to our Airline Staff Will Help a Lot
By: Mond Ortiz
Today, I saw a video of stranded passengers shouting and raising their voices on helpless Cebu Pacific ground attendants. Apparently, the flight of these passengers were cancelled after Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte placed the city under Community Quarantine, restricting domestic flights in and out the city. As passengers and paying customers, we have the right to complain. But in a time of crisis, we need to exercise kindness.
With a lot of government-imposed lockdowns and travel restrictions all around the world, airlines are placed in a very difficult situation. They have to follow directives as they would end up getting fined a huge amount for disobeying government orders.
The COVID-19 is a very transmissible disease and can be passed through one person to another via saliva droplets, or surfaces an infected person touches or coughs on. The goal of the world is to curb the spread through isolation, hence, travel restrictions are at place.
As travellers, yes we do have various reasons for travel. Whether it be important or not, airlines are still subjected to government regulations and directives.
Today in the Philippines, the Community Quarantine is being implemented in Metro Manila and in different cities or regions around the country, putting a restriction to domestic travel. Flights are forced to cancel almost immediately, stranding many passengers.
Yes to be stranded passenger is irritating and we do want a solution to this but guess what, being rude and shouting at our airline employees will not solve any issue. It will just cause us unnecessary stress.
First of all, these ground crew, flight attendants, ticket officers, and pilots follow airline management directives. Our customer frontliners can only do so much given their limited capacity to avert a whole situation like a flight cancellation brought by a government-imposed directive. No amount of shouting will have them get you a whole plane in an instant given the parameters and a situation like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most of the time, such decisions are also made to protect and ensure your safety.
Second and I think this is the most important. Just like you, these airline employees are human beings just like you, and not robots that can take a sh*t load of emotional banter. They are tired, they are working overtime, they are working in the midst of a crisis where they too are prone to contract such disease. Some are even enduring salary cuts as airline companies are now on survival mode. Having a little heart for these people will not deprive you of your dignity nor your significance in society.
At this time, we need unity and peace. We need to work and cooperate. We need to understand each other.
I am pretty sure these ground crew, flight crew, and ticketing agents would love to accomodate you but then, they are under strict orders. Yes I know "walang personalan naman ito", but how sure are we these people in the service industry are not hurting with those words you are throwing on them.
If you have a complaint, you may always direct it to the airline but then again, we need more heart, more understanding, and more patience.
The people working in the service industry are human beings just like you. Lets be human to one another. Together with unity, understanding, kindness, and obedience, we can all get over this COVID-19 mess the soonest.