October 26, 2021

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Public Relations Insights from Top PR Firm 5W Public Relations

Reviewing Company Policies After a PR Crisis

Reviewing Company Policies After a PR Crisis 1

Recently, a passenger on a JetBlue flight publicly stated that the flight crew had threatened to kick him off the flight after another passenger gave him an eye mask.

The reason for the threat was because the passenger with the eye mask was in the first class, while the other one was in the economy class, and passengers in the economy class weren’t allowed to use eye masks.

The passenger that received the threat from the flight crew documented the incident in a TikTok video that went viral.

That passenger was Tyler Weitzman, who had been taking a last-minute trip to LA.

According to Weitzman, he hadn’t had much sleep the night before his flight, and had overheard a passenger in the first class of the plane asking one of the flight attendants for a Snooze Kit which includes an eye mask and earplugs.

That’s when he decided to ask the flight attendant for the same thing, and was overheard by a passenger in the first class. The flight attendant declined Weitzman‘s request and was overheard by the passenger in the first class, who gave Weitzman her own eye mask.

However, before the plane even left the gate, one of the flight attendants approached Weitzman and told him he would have to return the eye mask, which ended in an argument lasting several minutes, that he managed to record.

According to the footage, Weitzman also offered to purchase one of the kits, however, the flight attendant informed him that those kits weren’t for sale.

Weitzman then also asked to purchase a first-class seat, but was told that there weren’t any seats available anymore. He also offered to pay an upgrade fee while still remaining in the economy section, just to be able to get the kit but was refused.

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Then, at one point he had heard one of the members of the flight crew call security. A few minutes later a supervisor arrived on the plane and repeated the company’s flight policy to Weitzman. After being told that he would have to leave the plane if he refused to follow the policy, Weitzman agreed to return the mask and avoid any further flight delays.

Later during the flight, one of the attendants brought Weitzman a personal eye mask that was not branded by the company. That mask previously belonged to one of the passengers in first class who wanted to give the eye mask to Weitzman. Additionally, the flight attendant was fine with Weitzman using that mask because it wasn’t branded by JetBlue.

Once the situation was made public and the video went viral, a representative for JetBlue stated that although first-class customers weren’t allowed to share products they could receive during their flights with passengers in the economy class, there weren’t any specifications in terms of eye masks.

The representative also stated that the company would be reviewing its company policy to add more clarity for both staff and customers. According to Weitzman, he has also been in contact with JetBlue and received an apology, along with a free first class ticket for his return trip. This is a great example for companies and PR professionals on how to successfully navigate situations that can quickly go viral online.