Allow me to fill in some blanks here (public relations employees, after all, tend to be a positive bunch). If airlines don’t apologize more than other companies - and the sheer volume of business they do on any given day would suggest that they have to – then at the very least, it’s safe to say they are doing so on a larger scale. Delta, for example, didn’t just have to apologize to Josiah Allen for losing his dog, Paco. It had to answer to the thousands of dog lovers who signed his online petition too – a petition that was made readily accessible through links in articles on The Consumerist, AolNews, and Mainstreet.
“Airlines get their share of publicity,” agrees Agnes Huff of the Agnes Huff Communications Group, who has worked in airline PR and crisis management for more than 20 years. “It’s a very, very visible industry that is followed quite closely by the public and the media.”
Ed Stewart, who has worked for Delta (Stock Quote: DAL), Southwest and United, is more straightforward when asked if airlines have it harder.
“Absolutely,” Stewart says. “It’s an interesting and challenging business.”
So do the airlines deserve the scrutiny?
It seems logical to conclude, after all, that the airlines brought a great deal of this negativity on themselves. American Airlines (Stock Quote: AMR), for example, probably shouldn’t complain that its latest fee to book the first few rows in coach was picked apart by most major news networks. Neither could AirTran (Stock Quote: AAI), which tried to quietly raise its checked bag fees by $5 just two weeks ago.