Cranky on the Web: Boeing’s Full-Page Apology, The 550 in Indy

Boeing Takes Out Full-Page Ads Before CEO TestifiesAdWeek
I was asked how I felt about the full page ad Boeing took out in the Wall Street Journal, and, well, I didn’t really like it. But later I was alerted that Boeing also took out an ad in Indonesian newspapers which had a much better tone. Still, I disagree with the “expert” here suggesting that saying you’re sorry is a bad idea because you’ll get sued. I’m sure others can chime in, but I seem to recall being told when I was on America West’s accident team that you shouldn’t hesitate to say you’re sorry. Empathize the best you can, and never be afraid to try to comfort them in whatever way possible.

Some of United’s regional flights just got a lot cushier with new planeIndy Star
The communities that are getting United’s new CRJ-550 are excited… or at least, they’re trying to figure out if they should be. A local reporter in Indianapolis asked me about that.

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5 Responses to Cranky on the Web: Boeing’s Full-Page Apology, The 550 in Indy

  1. SirWired says:

    “If you say sorry, you’ll get sued.”

    I agree this is a stupid statement in this case. For starters, Boeing is, of course, already getting the ever-livin’-*bleep!* sued out of them.

    And the fact that Boeing has plenty to be sorry for here is not in dispute.

  2. Tim Dunn says:

    Boeing’s apology would be a lot more accepted if it didn’t come right before it went to Washington to get grilled by legislators. Also apologies would have been a lot more meaningful if lawmakers didn’t have lots of evidence that Boeing employees had concerns about the MAX years before either crash.
    The MAX will not be fully in service for over a year given that all of the US operators say it will take months to re-induct MAXs that were in their fleet at the time of the grounding as well as MAXs that were built but not delivered. Given that many passengers say they won’t fly on a MAX for 6 months or more after it returns to service, the MAX grounding will turn out to be the most significant disruption in air travel by a single aircraft model in US aviation history.

    As for the CRJ550, in addition to all that has been said in other articles on this site, the CRJ550 will create questions of why UA is unable to provide a higher quality product in its other regional jet operation which carries more passengers as a percent of UA’s domestic operation than any other US airline. UA is once again creating product inconsistency across its fleet, this time because of trying to get around labor restrictions and this time creating a better product – but the result is that some parts of UA’s operation look better and others look worse- and UA isn’t really trying to reduce the part that looks worse.

  3. Michael Aymard says:

    Love means never having to say you’re sorry ..

  4. Teiemka says:

    Agree with Tim that Boeing has plenty to be sorry about(listed below), but I think the ad was meant to note the First anniversary of the fatal Lionair crash rather than to soften attitudes toward lawmakers on Capitol Hill. It’s just timing that these hearings and the investigation report have also occurred around this time.

    *MCAS classified as Major rather than Hazardous in case of failure of the system.

    *Non redundant AOA

    *AOA disagree alert (safety) sold as an optional extra

    *Faulty Dispay SW for AOA disagree alert, withheld this information from customers for more than a year.

    *Changing MCAS triggers to handle low speed stall within flight envelope during certification without advising FAA, effectively making MCAS intervention 4 times as powerful (0.6 vs 2.5 degrees)

    *Non disclosure of MCAS to customers, pilots and within Boeing Technical manuals.

    Muilenburg explained why Boeing did not disclose the existence of the system to pilots, saying the system is “fundamentally embedded in the handling qualities of the aeroplane,” so “when you train on the aeroplane, you are being trained on MCAS.”

    “It’s not a separate system to be trained on,” he said.

    *No simulator available at EIS of aircraft, 2hr iPad differences course.

    *Doing everything possible to loosen regularity oversight for certification of aircraft over the last 15 years. Culminating in FAA reporting to Boeing managers ie. putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.

    *Still pending whether Boeing procedure released after Lionair and used by ET crew was flawed?

  5. Eric in ICT says:

    I teach public relations and media training for a living and most of the research/best practices I’ve seen says there is very little chance of litigation based on a simple apology. So would agree that in most cases it’s best to say you are sorry and express concern for the people affected. For what it’s worth.

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