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Freedom Airlines Apologies...Sort Of

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Friday, November 17, 2006

While I've yet to see any official word come out of Delta over the whole Emily Gillette incident, the Burlington Free Press does have an article today that includes a second official statement from Paul Skellon, the genius that announced earlier this week that Freedom was just fine with moms breastfeeding...so long as they were following Freedom's definition of "discreet." (Which apparently included covering up an infant with the germ ridden airline blanket that had been used by passengers on earlier flights...)

The company statement:

"Please accept the following in response to your e-mail of November 14, 2006. At the outset I would like to emphasize how seriously Mesa Air Group and Freedom Airlines takes this situation. As soon as the facts were brought to our attention, we immediately launched a thorough investigation. We concluded that the flight attendant in question acted contrary to the Company's expectations. We believe our disciplinary action was appropriate and was taken after considering all of the facts leading to this incident. I do believe it is worth noting that the events described in the article failed to include the fact that the flight attendant in question was young and new to her job. Furthermore, following the incident, the Captain apologized to the passenger and her family and immediately requested that they be re-boarded for their flight (an offer the family refused).

"We are reinforcing the manner this situation should have been handled with our front line employees. Our handling of this investigation and resolution of any deficiencies found to have occurred were focused on raising awareness of this issue for our employees. I hope you can appreciate our efforts to prevent any similar occurrences in the future.

"To clarify our policy, Freedom Airlines firmly supports a mother's right to breast feed a child. We understand that air travel presents particular difficulties to a nursing mother as airport facilities and aircraft are not designed to maximize privacy for passengers. Moreover while blankets are available for passengers convenience, we do not expect, (and will not in the future request) that nursing mothers use a blanket to cover their child while nursing. My comment in the original article to the contrary was not an accurate statement of our policy. I thank you for expressing your views to us and truly hope that you find our response both genuine and satisfactory."

You've got to wonder if Mr Skellon tripped and sprained anything after back peddling so fast and so hard...

That said, it WAS nice to see a "sort of" apology...(note that the statement just says that they investigated and they are restating their policy, it never really says that they're sorry for what happened to Gillette.)

However...it's interesting to note that the Burlington Free Press quotes Gillette as saying that the statement from the company just isn't true. According to Gillette, she and her family were NEVER offered the opportunity to reboard the plane. "I would have jumped at the opportunity," Gillette said to the paper.

Hmm...I hate to be a cynic, but wouldn't you think that if you were going to try smooth things out after all of this negative press, that you'd at least hire a PR firm that was smart enough to know that reporters often call the alleged victim to double check their side of the story?

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  1. Anonymous Jenny from MN | 1:24 PM |  

    Yes, also interesting that this is all an"inexperienced" flight attendants fault. I am skeptical that an inexperienced flight attendant can, by herself, get a passenger removed from a plane. I would think that it would take the approval of someone higher up the command chain....

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