Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
I had a note today from someone at United Airlines who said that I'm too mean to airline staff.
Please, this isn't true. I never give them any trouble.
I sit quietly. I read. Yes, books and magazines.
And I never shout or scream, unlike one passenger on my otherwise pleasant British Airways flight yesterday, who insisted he'd booked his seat a year ago and he was damn well going to have that seat. (Sigh.)
Airlines, though, have put their own staff into a very difficult position--one in which customer service appears to come far, far behind, say, policing.
And when passengers don't like what they see, they do the modern thing.
They take out their cellphones and post the results to YouTube.
It can be quite effective. (See: Dao, David vs. United Airlines.)
Airlines, though, know that this is not a one-way thing. Some passengers are truly awful. (See: Well, this person.)
So now they've decided to go all the way with the policing thing.
Airlines are beginning to give their staff bodycams.
As the New York Times reports, some airlines are already mounting cameras on their employees and, one imagines, getting their own back a little.
"Why should it just be that the passenger is the one who is recording everything on their cellphone and editing it the way they see fit? The crew has no way of documenting what they went through to get to the very explosive situation," exclaims Richie McBride, chief executive of Edesix, which manufactures the cameras.
There is surely truth to this.
So far, the cameras are only being used at small airlines, such as Guernsey, Britain-based Aurigny.
Large U.S. airlines say they're not planning to implement the bodycams.
That hasn't stopped at least one United gate agent from deciding to film what she believed was an unruly passenger.
You can't help but suspect that the reason for big airlines haven't implemented bodycams is cost, rather than a lack of desire.
They know that their limitless profit-seeking and nickel-and-diming have had an effect on passengers' moods.
They know because, in the case of American Airlines, the staff are telling the bosses not to stuff as many coach seats into planes as possible. It will only make things worse for everyone.
As the cost of cameras goes ever down, however, I can foresee at least one or two big U.S. airlines giving it a whirl.
Who wouldn't want to watch a YouTube channel full of terrible passenger behavior?
And today on What Did That Passenger Do? Yes! She put her dirty feet on the armrest in front! Watch This!