News and Updates from 5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian

Marine humiliated on Delta flight?

5W PR, led by CEO Ronn Torossian

This was one of those things that everyone who was involved wished didn’t happen – not very smart. Even people who love to be angry wish something like this didn’t happen. But according to one Marine, and several witnesses, on a particular Delta flight … unfortunately it did happen.

An amputee Marine, injured during service in Afghanistan, was on board a recent Delta flight when he was, reportedly, paraded down the aisle in his wheelchair to his seat. Along the way he was accidentally bumped into other passengers, all the way to almost the back of the plane. When several passengers in first class volunteered to give up their seats so that the wounded veteran could have more room, the flight crew ignored these requests.

It is important to note here that the complaint did not come from the offended Marine. Instead, it came from Army Col. Nickey Knighton, a fellow passenger on the flight. Col. Knighton sent a complaint to Delta Airlines about how the Marine was treated. Then, the Washington Post got hold of the complaint and published the story.

Many other major media outlets picked it up and ran with it as well. While Delta has released no official findings since the incident, the airline did say it would investigate. But stopped short of even admitting the incident happened. Regardless of the accuracy of the story, the airline will likely have to deal with a crisis PR firm for this one.

Delta should have acted more quickly to diffuse the rage that came from this. They may eventually issue an apology, but one should have come already. In fact, it should have been the first thing that happened. Instead, Delta opted for  the response that“this in no way reflects how Delta treats customers.”

In fairness, this official statement did end with an apology. However, that admission is more omission, and one that will ring hollow for most consumers. While Delta may not treat their customers poorly, the incident in question begs to differ. As of this writing, that point has yet to be addressed.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

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