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AirAsia boss to apologise to attendant for prostration on Phuket flight

PHUKET: Tony Fernandes, chief executive of AirAsia Group, and Tassapon Bijleveld, chief executive officer of Thai AirAsia, are to fly to Hat Yai today (Sept 9) to apologise to a flight attendant who was forced to prostrate herself before the daughter of a complaining passenger on a flight from Phuket to Bangkok last month.

transport, culture,

The Phuket News

Friday 9 September 2016, 11:26AM

Tony Fernandes, chief executive of AirAsia Group, and Tassapon Bijleveld, chief executive officer of Thai AirAsia, are to fly to Hat Yai today (Sept 9) to apologise to the flight attendant. Photo: Alec Wilson
Tony Fernandes, chief executive of AirAsia Group, and Tassapon Bijleveld, chief executive officer of Thai AirAsia, are to fly to Hat Yai today (Sept 9) to apologise to the flight attendant. Photo: Alec Wilson

“I, as Chief Executive Officer of Thai AirAsia, and Mr Tony Fernandes, Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia Group, express our deepest regrets and acknowledge our responsibility towards these past incidents, which were the result of poor communication between us and the passenger who filed a complaint,” Mr Tassapon said in a statement issued yesterday.

“The situation on the day of the incident could only be described as highly sensitive and emotional for all involved but we maintain that our executives never obligated our staff to perform an act of prostration and only wanted the issue to be resolved in the best way possible.”

The incident in which the flight attendant had to prostrate herself to calm down a mother who reportedly was upset with the attendant asking what she could do to help her daughter who reportedly had a disability.

The incident occurred on Thai AirAsia Flight FD3006, from Phuket to Bangkok, on Aug 26, reported Post Today. (See story here.)

According to the report, a mother and two children boarded a flight. One of the children is reportedly autistic. One board, a flight attendant asked – without being informed that any special needs passengers were on board – if the mother required any assistance with her daughter, which apparently enraged the mother.

The flight attendant then was required to prostrate herself as a form of apology to calm the mother’s rage.

The mother then sent a complaint to the airline as she felt the flight attendant was dishonouring her by asking what she could do to help, reported the Bangkok Post. (See story here.)

Lemongrass House

The airline management later had a meeting with the mother and the flight attendant who prostrated before the passenger, Mr Tassapon said.

Mr Tassapon attributed the incident to poor communication between the airline and the passenger.

“We affirm that we highly value the feelings of our employees and are disheartened by what has happened to the staff member in question. We assure we will learn from these events and amend our policies accordingly and have our Customer Relations Department handle all passenger complaints in the future without the need for confrontation between passengers and cabin crew,” Mr Tassapon said in his statement yesterday.

Mr Tassaporn did not reveal the identify of the enraged mother. However, in addition to many Thai publications, Khaosod English reported the mother's name as Jumpoon Chavasiri. (See story here.)

Ms Jumpoon lists herself as an ABAC University graduate hwo is now a hospitality management consultant and currently Director of JP Management Solutions Co., Ltd. based in Bangkok.

JP Management Solutions Co Ltd, however, lists its headquarters as based in Lancashire, England.



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Christy Sweet | 10 September 2016 - 07:57:27

"Forced.." ? Cabin crew have authority over passengers, this attendant should have simply walked away from the situation and informed the captain there was an unruly woman in the cabin.

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Seaturtle55 | 09 September 2016 - 18:00:56

It's all fine and good for the Thai Air Asia boss to make this personal apology, but I think that the person, whoever that was, should be made to make a public apology in person to this attendant!!  Not to prostrate him or herself before the attendant..that would demean everyone...but a public apology should be made by the person who failed to properly defend their employee and subjected her to what must have been a most demoralising experience!! Forced to prostrate oneself??!!  Disgraceful!!!

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Kurt | 09 September 2016 - 14:33:00

Seems the mother was mentally disable to fly.
Should be blacklisted.
Didn't understand that she was a paying guest of the airline.
Always treat airline staff with respect, same as they treat you always with respect.

This whole affair did costs the airline a lot of money, not yet talking about many of the airline crew would have felt shocked.

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