In the second quarter of 2017, Delta’s 23,000 flight attendants will be put through mandatory diversity training. The airline’s executives went through the training last year, and following some PR issues onboard their flights, Delta has expanded the program.
The rise of social media has made it easy for stories to circulate the web and reach millions of people in a very short period of time. After a doctor shared her experience on a Delta flight where she felt a flight attendant discriminated against her as a woman of color, the story went viral. Screenshots of her Facebook post were quickly circulated on various social media platforms with many people expressing outrage against the airline for how she was treated.
Shortly thereafter, Delta released a statement assuring the public that the airline’s “commitment to diversity, inclusion, and respect of [their] customers worldwide is rooted deeply in [their] company’s values and culture” and that they are “committed to treating all passengers with kindness and respect.”
After releasing this statement to deal with the crisis situation, Delta came to the conclusion that more needed to be done to help prevent situations like this one from arising again on their flights. They are continuing their crisis management of the situation by announcing their diversity training.
In their latest move, “Delta’s classes will use ‘real and relevant’ scenarios and discuss unconscious bias and so-called microaggressions.” Delta already requires cross-cultural training, but the newest classes will go well beyond that. Customer situations such as these are affecting more airlines than just Delta and the airline’s response reflects the increased focus organizations have on customer interactions and how it can affect their brand’s reputation.
Overall, preparedness is key to effective issues management in crisis situations and Delta seemed well prepared to issue a timely and relevant statement following the initial incident. Additionally, the company went a step further to help make sure that crew members are better prepared and trained for these situations in the future. By making sure their employees are treating all customers with the respect they deserve, Delta is preventing further crises and improving their reputation.