Oh Garuda Indonesia…
It seems that Garuda Indonesia isn’t very good at taking feedback from customers/those reviewing their flights. Several readers have emailed me regarding an incident that has unfolded at the airline over the past couple of days.
A popular travel vlogger from Indonesia, Rius Vernandes, recently posted a video on YouTube reviewing his Garuda Indonesia A330 business class flight from Sydney to Bali.
This wasn’t a perfect flight, to put it mildly. They ran out of all kinds of wine, there were no menus (but rather the crew had to hand write the menu), etc. Rius even talked to some other passengers onboard, and they had the same thoughts.
While I don’t understand everything going on in the video, I think I have a good gist of it, and the Indonesia readers that have emailed me regarding this have filled me in.
Here’s the video:
So, what’s Garuda Indonesia’s response to all of this? Are they thanking him for the feedback and realizing there are ways they could learn from his experience? Nope. Instead they’re simply trying to censor him.
First of all, Garuda Indonesia has issued a memo to cabin crew to inform them that passengers aren’t allowed to “document activities on the plane.” Here’s the memo, using Google Translate:
Following up on directives from management, all cabin crew are informed as follows:
- Not allowed to document all activities on the plane, whether in the form of photos or videos by cabin crew or passengers.
- Cabin crew must use language that is assertive in conveying the passenger ban for point 1 above except that they have obtained a permit from the company
- The company will sanction if there is a violation of the above provisions
Thus it is conveyed to be known and implemented consistently. Thank you for your attention and cooperation. Enjoy your duty.
They also can’t wrap their head around how Rius got his hands on the menu. Rius posts a picture of the menu in all of his reviews, and this was no different — he explains that the flight attendant was trying to be helpful so wrote out the menu to be able to show passengers. I actually appreciate that, and I think this was the crew getting creative and it was management that made the mistake.
But Garuda Indonesia management can’t seem to wrap their heads around that. First they Tweeted the following:
“We would like to convey that this wasn’t a menu card for passengers, but a personal note for flight attendants that wasn’t supposed to be published. Thank you”
Garuda’s Corporate Secretary is making this sound like a conspiracy against the airline:
“We don’t know how he could get his hands on it. And if it was the menu card, other passengers should’ve gotten it either but no one shared it [other than him]. The question is where he obtained it from and why he’s sharing it, saying that it’s the menu card.”
Now as the latest update in the saga, Rius has allegedly been summoned by the police over defamation of Garuda Indonesia…
It’s absolutely mind-boggling that Garuda Indonesia thinks the way to deal with something like this is to try to punish the person who published it. They’re making this situation much worse than it has to be with how they’re acting.
They should have simply apologized, explained what happened, and share the steps they’ll take to avoid it in the future.
Instead they’re trying to censor people and go after them for defamation.
It’s especially ironic that Garuda Indonesia is trying to prevent people from documenting their onboard experience. Garuda Indonesia has some of the best onboard service of any airline in the world, and I’d argue that they’ve disproportionately benefited positively from people “documenting” their experiences with the carrier. Just check out my Garuda Indonesia first class review for an example of that.
But it seems like they can only handle positive feedback.
This whole situation makes me lose a lot of respect for the airline (not that I ever respected management that much, but rather just the frontline employees at the airline).