WestJet Apologizes For Asking Passengers to Film Its Cabin Crew

May 10, 2018

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WestJet is apologizing for asking passengers to record its own flight attendants and other in-flight operations.

According to the Canadian Union of Public Employees, WestJet allegedly asked customers to secretly record its flight attendants. CUPE represents Air Canada’s flight attendants and is also lobbying to represent WestJet’s.

CUPE said this would be a violation of the flight attendants’ right to privacy, as well as WestJet’s privacy policy.

The Canadian airline asked several of its regular passengers — who also fly frequently with the competition — to make videos about their experiences on board their WestJet flights, CBC News reports.

WestJet, however, says the request was never to record cabin crew or any of the airline’s employees.

“The ask was aimed at understanding the elements of their journey that stood out and/or impressed them, as well as understanding where we can do better,” a member of WestJet’s research and insights team wrote to CBC. “This type of feedback is very valuable when it comes to product development and informing future decisions.”

TPG reached out to WestJet for more information but did not hear back by time of publication.

WestJet’s CEO Ed Sims said Tuesday that there was “absolutely no intention to upset flight attendants as a consequence of that action.”

“I apologize to any flight attendants, unreservedly, for those who were upset or offended by that action,” he said.

The matter came to light when one flight attendant wrote on an internal WestJet employee forum that a passenger was made “uncomfortable” by the request. The passenger said a WestJet survey asked him to record any positive experience in business class on another airline, while recording any negative experience while flying WestJet.

A member of the airline’s research team responded to the post, saying “at no point were the participating guests directed to record video,” but he did admit the instructions to customers were probably too vague.

According to Sims, the CEO, the project aimed to amass a collection of WestJet’s “service moments.”

“We asked our guests to capture what is the most important — whether it’s interaction with our outstanding flight attendants, whether it’s their meal service — whatever those moments are that they value most, either in our service or in our competitors’ services,” Sims said.

CBC reports that members of the airline’s research team said this type of “in-moment capture” is popular in the research world. But, Sims says the WestJet won’t make another foray into this type of survey again.

“We aren’t looking to repeat the request to film onboard our aircraft in the future,” he said.

Featured image by Tony Bock/Toronto Star via Getty Images.

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