More than 100 passengers fell ill on board of the Emirates Airbus A380 on their way to New York, which led the authorities of JFK International Airport to keep them quarantined. We do not know the laws that allow airports to react to such
Should Brands Care About Fact-Checking or Addressing Concerns?
Honestly, we know that social media has become the new virtual public sphere for everyone to voice their opinion regardless of how reliable or credible it is. Brands, on the other hand, should never neglect the impact of such a crisis on their reputation, even if online users aren’t really aware of all the happenings.
The Negative Buzz
The quarantine that took place on
1- Live Coverage
The top interactive negative content was of tweets by a passenger who dedicated his tweets to update the world of what is happening during the quarantine. Erin Sykes started off by reporting that the airplane had many ill passengers, who should have been prohibited from getting on board. Although Erin’s followers do not exceed 1.2K, she received many interactions, even by journalists, to report on what was happening on the flight.
@emirates worst flight ever Dubai to NYC; plane was basically a flying infermary. Many of these people should never have been allowed to board. Now sitting on the ground after 14 hour flight unable to leave. @EmiratesSupport #emirates #worstairline— Erin Sykes (@SykesStyle) September 5, 2018
Was Emirates responsive?
Statement: Emirates can confirm that about 10 passengers on #EK203 from Dubai to New York were taken ill. On arrival, as a precaution, they were attended to by local health authorities. All others will disembark shortly. The safety & care of our customers is our first priority.— Emirates Airline (@emirates) September 5, 2018
2- Lack of transparency
While the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that more than 100 passengers and staff members fell ill on the flight. Emirates was still publishing tweets claiming that no more than 10 passengers were ill.
The CDC eventually amended the number to 10, but the chaos had already taken over the buzz.
DEVELOPING: Emirates Airlines flight from Dubai being isolated at New York City airport after reports that as many as 100 people on board could be sick, officials say. https://t.co/h3UzKegBzp pic.twitter.com/40ofUrtosL— ABC News (@ABC) September 5, 2018
3- It’s not the airline’s responsibility
As Erin Sykes’s tweet generated an online conversation, people actually started raising many issues that may be taken into consideration by Emirates. To name a few, online users seemed unaware of laws and responsibilities for passengers and airlines.
It’s the passengers job to not fly when ill. Maybe everyone can take a little personal responsibility to not get everyone else sick when in enclosed, recycled air space. Full stop.— 🤦🏻♀️ (@usttssas) September 5, 2018
Meanwhile, many users were sympathetic of ill passengers who wouldn’t want to pay additional fees to reschedule. Many voiced their opinion about an urge to modify the laws and policies of airlines to save other passengers.
So, what do we learn from Emirates’ Quarantine?
We can assume, by the high percentage of negative content, that Emirates did not handle the quarantine wisely. Such a crisis drove so much negative content and a chaotic buzz on social media platforms. But what should have the team of Emirates done?
1- Be more responsive
One public statement that neglects highly interactive “influencers” is a big no! A number of personalized replies and tweets could have done a great job to calm online users and perhaps convey that the airline company cares about their customers and image.
2- Be clearer
Emirates mentioned in their statement that only 10 passengers were ill on board. The CDC circulated rumors that there were more than 100 sick passengers on the plane. Typically, people would assume that Emirates is trying to minimize the impact of the crisis, but Emirates could have monitored all the pages that are circulating these rumors and addressed them with facts. It would have at least utilized the time to minimize the effect of these rumors.
3- Display policies/criteria to the public
Thankfully, people on their own displayed an opinion that Emirates should have promoted on its own. People are really unaware of policies. We’re pretty sure that a leading player such as Emirates has its policies documented somewhere. Let’s assume the worst case scenario; their policies aren’t in their favor. The airlines should have displayed the criteria their staff follows to ensure a safe flight to all passengers.