Another day another airline #Customer Service outrage that has gone viral on YouTube. The incident involved an entire family getting kicked off of a Hawaii to California #Flight for not giving up a seat being occupied by a toddler. What transpired was a classic example of how not to do customer service, courtesy of #Delta Airlines.

First, Delta overbooked the flight to start with. This practice is supposed to ensure that all flights will be filled as a certain percentage of passengers will be no shows, but all too often it involves customers who thought they had paid a ticket for a seat on a plane only to discover that the airline yanked it from them for its convenience.

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Second, the airline allowed the family to get on the plane and take their seats before telling them they had to give up one of the seats occupied by a toddler. People are far more resistant to giving up something that they already have than to being stopped at the gate.

Third, the airline employee suggested that one of the adults hold the toddler in his or her lap for the entire flight even though the FAA strongly suggests that a small child be in a safety seat in his or her own airline seat for obvious safety reasons.

Fourth, an airline employee threatened the adults with jail and the loss of their children unless they complied.

To be sure, Delta had an out in that the seat in question had been paid for the couple’s 18-year-old son who had opted to return on another flight. However, this was a matter that should have been handled at the gate not in a crowded airliner with people already on edge because of cramped conditions and bad air.

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The airline has done the right thing after the fact by instantly apologizing as soon as the video hit YouTube, with promises of an investigation and compensation. But good customer service would have involved not allowing these incidents to happen to start with.

To reiterate from previous posts about airline atrocities, the problem stems from a lack of competition for long distance travel services coupled by a post 9/11 corporate culture among airlines that seem to regard passengers as problems to be dealt with rather than customers to be serviced. Expanding competition by allowing airports to add more gates and by encouraging technological fixes such as Hyperloop lines between cities and air tax services for regional transport will help. Only then will air travel stop being the equivalent of being carried in a cattle car into an experience that can be enjoyed and looked forward to.