Other Airlines' Communication After Crashes

After two plane crashes over the weekend, Should other airlines "tout their safety records?" asked Matt Wilson in a PR Daily article. Although the article cautions airlines, the industry might learn from cruise companies' responses after the Costa Concordia crash in 2012.

Advisors such as Robert Holland of Holland Communication Solutions recommends that airlines avoid promoting their own safety:

"Even if my airline had a stellar safety record, even then it would appear to be gloating in the face of other airlines' problems. I would recommend commenting publicly if asked, however.

"Otherwise it would raise questions or suspicions about what we're trying to hide about our own record. It's important for other airlines to be forthcoming with information if it's requested, but there's nothing to be gained, and perhaps something to be lost, by proactively commenting."

But, after the Costa Concordia cruise disaster, other cruise companies found ways to be respectful of those lost and to reassure customers. Here are three examples of companies' communications to their customers:

Download Celebrity Cruise email

Download Royal Caribbean email

Download Norwegian Cruise email


Image source.

Discussion Starters:

  • If you were a member of American Airlines' management team, would would be your perspective on whether to share your safety records? What considerations would you have if you were the head of Marketing? PR? Customer service? Operations? Legal? How might your opinion differ in each of these roles?
  • Imagine that you decide to blog about your company's safety records. Using the cruise companies' letters as a starting point, what would you say to airline customers?