Read the first update - click here
Here is the email I got from Tyson Matheson, the VP of Inflight, copied in it was Lauri Feser, the investigator I spoke with.
Dear Ms. Charbonneau
I have been working with Lauri Feser to follow up on the complaint you made about your interaction with a WestJet flight attendant on your return to Canada from Mexico in March.
WestJet does not support or condone the type of behavior you reported. WestJet prides itself on providing a positive and caring guest experience while maintaining the highest levels of safety. Accordingly, we investigate when we receive reports of guest experiences that appear to fall well below those standards with the goal of addressing any problems and ensuring that any necessary corrective measures are taken.
I would like to re-assure you that we have taken this situation seriously and have conducted an investigation into your complaint.
We acknowledge that you had a negative experience with us and accordingly please accept our sincerest apology on behalf of the Inflight leadership team at WestJet.
Vice President, Inflight
So, I emailed this Mr. Matheson along with Lauri Feser (investigator, customer satisfaction) back:
Thank you Tyson, Lauri
I appreciate the acknowledgement of the issue, now I want to know what the resolution is and if I will get the apology I have requested or whether I should file charges for bullying and abuse of authority with the RCMP in order to get some serious resolution.
This type of situation is about far more than a customer service experience.
The man was a blatant bully and basically if I didn't shut up I was going to spend who knows how long in a Mexican jail.
That is abuse of authority. The threats were real and I feared for my safety and that of my husband who has MS.
As I expressed to Lauri, WestJet's policy regarding apologies needs to change as this is about ACCOUNTABILITY.
So, where does this go from here?
And I got this response back:
I’m sorry to hear that you don’t find our response satisfactory. We have investigated the situation and followed-up with the individuals involved. Therefore, WestJet does consider this matter closed.
I have emailed both Lauri and Tyson back asking for the employee ID number for the flight attendant, we'll see if I get it or if I have to have a lawyer get it for me.
At the end of the day, people in positions of authority need to be held accountable just like anyone else. I was advocating for myself and my husband to get the seats we paid for. My husband has MS, the extra room is important to his well being when he flies.
I am advocating for change in WestJet's policy of not informing a person what corrective measures have been taken and not offering apologies from employees who conduct themselves in an inappropriate way that abuses their authority.
WestJet employees are owners and as such, they should be held accountable for their conduct and actions, perhaps more so than employees who are members of unions. OWNERS need to be responsible!
It is depressing to think that one is at the mercy of a flight attendant that is having a bad day, it is frightening to have your safety threatened by that same employee, after all you are held captive so to speak. Much in the same way, it is depressing and scary to think that a police officer having a bad day has you at his/mercy and can threaten you in a way that few others could. By that I mean the prospect of going to jail even if you are attempting to be reasonable, or having an officer treat you as less than because you are female. I have had both of those types of experiences with police officers (RCMP) and I have gotten letters of apology and information on corrective measures.
What makes WestJet or any airline think they shouldn't have to provide a more personal resolution than: "We are sorry as a company"....
Being threatened with being removed from a flight in a foreign country like Mexico and potentially having to spend time in a Mexican jail is a terrifying thing to have to contemplate.
There are signs everywhere in this world of ours, including the jetways of most major airlines that state that employees do not have to put up with belligerent or rude people.
So where are the consumer signs that protect us from employees who are rude and bully people?
I am unsure of what I will do next, but I will be dealing with this situation in a broader way at some point in the future. I will need time to do investigations on what step next to take.
UPDATE - this just in from WestJet:
Dear Ms. Charbonneau,
I have been forwarded a copy of your email exchanges with Lauri Feser, Vice President, Marketing and Promotions, and Tyson Matheson, Vice President, Inflight and Learning and Development.
As Ms. Feser and Mr. Matheson have previously advised, WestJet takes its guests’ complaints seriously and conducted an investigation into the concerns you raised. WestJet ultimately determined that no further action was required.
While we acknowledge that you have a different view of events and we apologize for the negative guest experience you perceived, we must respectfully disagree with your assertion that WestJet or its employees have in any way treated you in a manner that gives rise to criminal charges or civil liability.
Accordingly, while we appreciate this matter continues to be of concern to you, we will not be presenting any employees or information to you as you have demanded. Additionally, should you seek to institute legal proceedings, whether criminal or civil, against WestJet or its employees as you have threatened, we will vigorously defend any such proceedings.
In any event, we once again confirm that we consider this matter closed.
22 Aerial Place NE, Calgary, AB T2E 3J1
And my response to the lawyers letter:
To all concerned,
I am deeply offended by the email below.
Now I am being told, contrary to the earlier email from Tyson Matheson of today, that WestJet acknowledged a bad experience, now you don't.
Where in my email did I threaten to take WestJet to task? This is an issue between myself, my husband and the flight attendant that bullied me and used his authority in an inappropriate manner. I took the situation to the company to resolve and it has not been resolved in a way that has any meaning to improving customer service and personal safety of its passengers.
My only recourse was to see if I can have the flight attendant charged. If I was in any other public situation it would be my right to have the RCMP talk to someone who had bullied me in any other threatening situation.
But, I guess that as a citizen, a taxpayer and a paying customer, I am now supposed to accept the abuse of authority and bullying that I experienced because you don't want to give me the employee's ID Number. I guess I should have gone straight to the RCMP to lay my complaint right at the airport.
I should never have trusted that there would be a true resolution. I feel lied to and betrayed.
All I ever wanted was a simple apology, an acknowledgement from my bully that his behaviour was out of line.
There is no way that a customer should have to take abuse from an employee. An Employee doesn't have to take it - the signs everywhere say it - but no where does anyone advocate for the consumer.
Airlines in Canada have a monopoly and we northern consumers have very little options and no one to defend us when something unfair transpires.
Another customer whipped into shape by bullying tactics!
And so ends the fight for customer service or customer rights.
Now I want to update you all on the series of articles about Joan Krenning, the founder of the Steel Horse Sisterhood Summit.
I have been getting a number of emails from people who have had interactions with Joan in the last 2 years.
Some of these communications include some claims that are going to take some time to verify.
Once I have verified the claims and have had some time to get some writing done, I will be publishing another follow up.
It's been a tough one, but I am so glad we are in the new hosting environment we are and that we have so many upgraded tools coming on stream!
If you are blessed to be riding today, please remember to ride like everyone around you is blind and cannot see you and consider dressing for the slide and not the ride!
Belt Drive Betty,
Editor & Rider
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