Another day, another airline social media crisis
This one was a few days in the making. A passenger on an Air Canada flight departing from Toronto shot video of a baggage handler dropping people’s suitcases from the top of a mobile staircase into a bin below, and posted it to YouTube April 17.
According to the video’s description, the fall was about 20 feet. The passenger, Dwayne Stewart, offered some running commentary: “Sorry, Air Canada, this is a fail.”
Two days later, on Saturday, Air Canada tweeted an apology in response to a link to the video.
It wasn’t until Monday that the story really exploded, though. Stewart’s video has reached more than 1.6 million views.
Air Canada spokeswoman Angela Man offered this statement to The Huffington Post
We apologize for the totally unacceptable mishandling of our passengers' baggage captured on video. The employees involved have been advised that their employment will be terminated pending the outcome of our investigation. We take matters involving the protection of our customers’ personal possessions very seriously. The actions of these individuals are not representative of the vast majority of our employees who work hard every day to take care of our customers.
According to Canada’s Global News
, the baggage handlers’ union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, is defending the actions of the Air Canada handler who tossed the bags. Spokesman Bill Trbovich said airlines put intense pressure on handlers to get baggage on and off planes quickly, and it would have been too dangerous for the handler to rush up and down the stairs.
Trbovich said he didn’t know whether the union would file a grievance.
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Meanwhile, on Air Canada’s Facebook page, a rather robust debate
over whether the airline should have fired the handlers has arisen, considering that the behavior was probably learned from other handlers.