wjcandee
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WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Fri Dec 09, 2005 11:18 pm

I am just shocked at how amateurish Gary Kelly's press conferences have been regarding the MDW incident, how long it took WN staff to get him up to speed to have the first one yesterday, and how lame and uninformative his conference was this morning. The press releases have been equally pathetic. Conclusion: The PR/Crisis Handling team needs to be sent packing, and some experts brought in before they destroy their reputation. Of great importance, they plainly aren't reading the articles that are flowing out on the AP, etc., and properly texturing their press releases in light of those articles.

Examples: (1) Over 12 hours after the incident, they continue to say that the Captain has "10 years flying for WN", and the F/O "more than 2 years". This is insane. Media outlets across the country accordingly keep reporting that the captain has been FLYING AIRCRAFT for 10 years and the f/o has been flying for 2 years. The strong implication is that they aren't experienced. WN should be saying something like (this is made up based upon a hypothetical captain experience level): "The captain has flown with WN for 10 years, prior to which he was a decorated Air Force pilot for 10 years, flying F16s (or whatever) and a captain at another major airline for 5 years after that. He has over 30,000 flight hours, 12000 of which are in the 737." See the friggin' difference?

(2) They should tell the media a bit more about this particular 737. And forget that the damn airline keeps giving out the tail number of a single-engine turboprop (NXXX rather than NXXXWN). They have now done it at least twice, making their CEO look awfully goofy to those in the business. Don't just tell me that it had a maintenance check in PHX a few days ago. Tell me that this model of 737 is equipped with the latest all-weather landing systems, including the ability to land in Category III conditions with as little as 50 feet of visibility and heads-up displays just like jet fighters which means that the pilot's instruments are shown right on the window as he's landing in challenging weather. Makes it sound like this discount carrier has good equipment.

(3) In describing the incident, they should, if true, indicate that the aircraft departed the far end of the runway. That's not admitting anything, since everyone can see that the damn plane is sitting in the middle of Central Avenue, just slightly to one side of the intersection. Newspapers keep reporting that the aircraft "skidded off the runway" or worse "veered off the runway", implying that it went out of control to the side of the runway. "Deadly Plane Skid" is what CNN is saying. Inexcuseable. If you give the media the words for the headline -- and it makes sense -- they will print it. If you give them information in a way that leaves them to their own devices, they will screw it up because they aren't the experts, you are.

(4) Gary is being quoted in a way that makes him sound completely stupid. There is information out there from the media reports that can be helpful that they aren't using. This "runway is too short" thing should have been shot down. Information about the last runway condition should be provided, because they have to have it by now, i.e. the latest ATIS indicated that the runway was ____, or merely that the Chicago Airport Authority has indicated, as it has, that the runway was open and suitable for use at the time of the accident. The fact that the captain always has the authority to take it to another airport if he has any concerns about landing should be made clearer, and something to the effect that at Southwest there will never be any repercussions for the Captain for doing so should be mentioned. And on and on.

These guys have been presented with an incident that, while tragic for the one kid, is basically not that bad as fatal aviation incidents go. Their completely inept handling of the PR crisis response and media is shocking considering their darling status with the media. In my view, they're going to end up turning this into something that hurts them much more than it should. Before long, the Love Field opponents are going to start kicking them over this incident, and if they can't handle THIS, they're going to get pounded on THAT.

And who taught Gary public speaking?? Stuff as simple as what clothes to wear (awful last night), what kind of background to have for the podium, and not to tilt his head down so you can see that he has no hair on the top are all basic things that a CEO should have had some training in, or should have been handled before they put him out there. Had this been a contentious accident in which passengers died, they'd be in really serious trouble.

Again, their PR response has been pretty good for a Third World Airline. It's been awful for a major American carrier that is beloved by the media. They doubtless had a crisis plan on the shelf, and it seems like pages are falling out of the notebook or weren't there in the first place.

When do the grownups come in to handle this?

Best,

Bill
 
wjcandee
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Fri Dec 09, 2005 11:22 pm

Now CNN is reporting from the radar track online that the plane was "travelling too fast". "Why did the plane speed up right before landing?" Outrageous. We all know that that information is crap, and only the FDR information is going to be useful. They need to be spanked. Where is the PR Staff to keep these idiots from spinning out of control?
 
LongbowPilot
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Fri Dec 09, 2005 11:33 pm

You guys, really have far too much time on your hands. Let the news be the heritic chasing agency it always has been. Be the better public and wait for informed people to tell you what is happening.
 
wjcandee
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Fri Dec 09, 2005 11:48 pm

Quoting LongbowPilot (Reply 2):
Let the news be the heritic chasing agency

No publicly-traded company can afford to do this. Business schools teach case studies on crisis management for that reason. We wouldn't be using Tylenol today if Johnson & Johnson had followed this advice.
 
Junction
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 12:00 am

I kind of agree with this. We would expect much more organization with regard to the release of information from a company like WN.
I was also surprised by the person WN had live on the phone last night with WGN-TV. The "WN spokesperson" had vocabulary like an 80s "Valley Girl" and cheerfully boasted there were no deaths or injuries. I was embarrassed for her comments, because the viewers knew more about the situation then she did just by watching the pictures on the screen. I guess this is why airlines will usually instruct their employees to refer any media inquires to their respective Corporate Communications Department.
 
Tornado82
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 12:13 am

Quoting Wjcandee (Thread starter):
Tell me that this model of 737 is equipped with the latest all-weather landing systems, including the ability to land in Category III conditions with as little as 50 feet of visibility and heads-up displays just like jet fighters which means that the pilot's instruments are shown right on the window as he's landing in challenging weather. Makes it sound like this discount carrier has good equipment.

MDW has no Cat III, so even if the plane had Cat III its worthless there. Midway is a Cat I airport www.airnav.com/airport/KMDW. And I'm sure if he had said that, A.netters would be on his butt for saying Cat III when MDW is not Cat III equipped. Also, RVR's were in the 3000-5000 ft range all evening. Mins are 300-3/4

Quoting Wjcandee (Thread starter):
And who taught Gary public speaking?? Stuff as simple as what clothes to wear (awful last night),

Well, I thought that too that his speaking wasn't "perfect" but he's flying by the seat of his pants too, and considering it was 10:30pm local, I'm surprised Gary even spoke and didn't just have one of his trained monkeys speaking as most other CEO's would do, he wouldn't even come out till morning.

Quoting Wjcandee (Thread starter):
so you can see that he has no hair on the top

So?!?! He's balding. Who cares?!? I hope you never lose hair.

The issue is a 737 landing on a snow covered, short runway, with a slight tailwind, in relatively low vis conditions, crashed and killed a young boy in a car on the street. Another issue is that Gary himself mentioned the plane had 35min of fuel left at landing after doing a few laps of hold (somewhere over Lake County, IN, I forget which hold that is)... that wasn't really enough to get to IND/MKE even with still enough for a MAP, was it?

Regardless, Gary's attire or bald spot is not the issue here. Sheesh, and you people say I hate Southwest. This is thread is just crazy. About the only place they can be faulted is for allowing CNN to continue to spew the falsehoods around.

God bless the families in the cars as well.
 
Jumpseat70
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 12:27 am

Experience....they'ver never had anything like this happen before.

Ask a legacy. They have a Crisis Team and Information Team ready for everything...anytime.

As an employee, I can tell you, we keep our lips sealed and let our pros handle this kind of information.
"Up, Up and away with TWA"
 
planespotting
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 12:27 am

Quoting Wjcandee (Thread starter):
Again, their PR response has been pretty good for a Third World Airline. It's been awful for a major American carrier that is beloved by the media. They doubtless had a crisis plan on the shelf, and it seems like pages are falling out of the notebook or weren't there in the first place.

the claims you are making are outrageous. The Gary Kelly you saw speaking is who Gary Kelly is. He dressed like Gary Kelly does, he looks like Gary Kelly, he talks like Gary Kelly...who the F*ck do you expect him to be? In a crisis like this, people want to hear straght from the top...which is why the CEO of Southwest Airlines was speaking to the media last night. Gary Kelly always dressed like that. He did a pretty decent job at the press conference. I've dealt a lot with PR over the past few years and there is nothing overtly terrible or even bad that Southwest has done to handle the PR of this situation....yet. They also cannnot control how the media quotes them, but really, the media has not lashed out at all against southwest and is doing a relatively good job reporting the story so far!

In a lot of ways they can't comment on things because THEY DON'T KNOW. They probably don't know the exact number of hours the pilot has right after this incident happens...Pilots keep their own logs up to date and don't need to inform the company of the number of flight hours they have experienced. I don't understand the assertions you are making because frankly they are extremely unfounded along with crazy.
Do you like movies about gladiators?
 
max999
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 12:29 am

Is this the first accident with a fatality for WN? If it is, maybe their staff is inexperienced in dealing with situations like this.
All the things I really like to do are either immoral, illegal, or fattening.
 
NIKV69
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 12:39 am

WN's handling of this incident has not been very good. I think the unprofessionalism is nothing to be surprised about. They don't know what to say since the fault may lie with their crew, he either landed too fast or too long. Then experienced a snow covered runway. Let us give him the benefit of the doubt until we find out the facts. Though the wx and pilot error seem to be the logical cause.
Hey that guy with the private jet can bail us out! Why? HE CAN AFFORD IT!
 
luv2fly
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 12:55 am

Quoting Planespotting (Reply 7):
In a lot of ways they can't comment on things because THEY DON'T KNOW. They probably don't know the exact number of hours the pilot has right after this incident happens...Pilots keep their own logs up to date and don't need to inform the company of the number of flight hours they have experienced. I don't understand the assertions you are making because frankly they are extremely unfounded along with crazy.

I have to agree here. The event just happened and answering questions that they do not have the answer to, could and will cause problems down the road for them.

To be honest with you since WN does have such a stellar safety record they really do not have a lot of experience in this matter to draw from.
You can cut the irony with a knife
 
PlanesNTrains
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 12:56 am

Quoting Tornado82 (Reply 5):
Sheesh, and you people say I hate Southwest. This is thread is just crazy. About the only place they can be faulted is for allowing CNN to continue to spew the falsehoods around.

I don't get the impression that he hates Southwest - otherwise he wouldn't have been frustrated with their respnnse. Instead, he would have simply attacked, which you might feel he's doing, but it's not the same.

As far as CNN et al, I think that's his overrall point - they're not getting out in front of it like he believes they should be. I'm not really on top of it, as I only caught a little bit of the coverage last night, so don't have an opinion one way or another.

-Dave
-Dave
 
OPNLguy
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 1:00 am

Quoting Tornado82 (Reply 5):
MDW has no Cat III, so even if the plane had Cat III its worthless there.

Nope.

While MDW might not have a CAT-III approach per se, it does have an ILS-Z approach to 31C that takes you down to RVR3000 if you have a HUD. ATA pioneered use of this approach at MDW, and SWA was also able to take advantage of it once they too got HUDs.

[Edited 2005-12-09 17:09:59]
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
Tornado82
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 1:01 am

Quoting PlanesNTrains (Reply 11):
I don't get the impression that he hates Southwest

But most people say I do, and at the time I was typing I was the first reply in their/Kelly's defense... I just got sidetracked here and became Reply #5 before I posted it.  Smile
 
hiflyer
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 1:09 am

I find this thread quite interesting with the thread starter premise fairly correct.

Southwest is not a little airline...why act like it? They have far more accurate details on background and history...why not use it? They have been called some of the smartest people in the industry lately...why not show it?

One possible reason may have been the initial defense of the crew at Burbank several years back burned them when the crew became entirely culpable due to their approach. However, issues were raised then by the press and from within the industry about the fabled "Southwest mentaility" of quick taxiing, quick approaches, and other methods of saving time.

Perhaps what we were seeing is the begining of the defense against the eventuality of those issues being raised again....play it lowball and not capable yet of the sharp questions.
 
Tornado82
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 1:23 am

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 12):
it does have an ILS-Z approach to 31C that takes you down to RVR3000 if you have a HUD.

Now that makes sense, considering the Vis/RVR's were less than 3/4mi most of last night, which were the published mins on the Airnav approach plate. I was thinking maybe the RVR's had sneaked up to 4500 in time for that approach or something... considering I was just deciphering METAR's / SPECI's and not the real-time ATIS/tower info.
 
dacman
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 1:29 am

HOLY COW!!

Folks sure like to "POUNCH" on Southwest, jump to conclusions and make uninformed statements..............................WOW!!!!!!!

That's all I have to say about that.

Mike
dacman
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S12PPL
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 1:30 am

I think you are going a little over board with attacking WN's PR staff. Why do you care so much what they say? It isn't your airline, so what's the big deal? If they are really doing such a horrible job, then people will refuse to fly them. But, let's face the facts. WN will not likely go under from this one incident. That is very un-likely. I think you have too much time on your hands if you can sit here and rag this much on WN...Then you need to find a hobby Wink
Next Flights: 12/31 AS804 PDX-MCO 2/3 AS19 MCO-SEA QX2545 SEA-PDX
 
luv2fly
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 1:38 am

In all honestly what experience have you had that when you look back on it you wish you had handled it different, like they say hind sight is 20/20.
You can cut the irony with a knife
 
ikramerica
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 1:43 am

Quoting Dacman (Reply 16):
Folks sure like to "POUNCH" on Southwest

Don't accuse them of doing something if the word you use isn't a word. It's really confusing...  Wink

Paunch
Pounce
Punch
Pound
Pouch
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
slider
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 2:41 am

I discount the excuse that they don't have "experience" with a catastrophic incident.

That's why we have safety sciences, advanced discplines of safety program management, emergency response programs and why each airline should PRACTICE and DRILL consistently to get things like this right.

There's no free pass for bobbling things like this regardless of who you are.
 
AsstChiefMark
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 2:54 am

The media seems to WANT to screw things up. Newspaper and TV crews have chopped up my interviews during emergency calls so bad that I now refuse to comment. They seem to report what they want to report and make the interviewee look stupid every time.

Mark
Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Damned MSP...Red tail...Red tail
 
Falcon Flyer
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 3:08 am

Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 9):
They don't know what to say since the fault may lie with their crew, he either landed too fast or too long.

It's bearly 18 hours after the incident, who on this message board is in a position to say that the landing was long or fast ? What if the PF was on speed and profile, landing in the TDZ and braking action was a factor ? Speculation is fine but it's just to early to draw such a conclusion and very unfair to the crew involved.
My definition of cool ? Not trying so hard to be cool.
 
kevi747
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 3:50 am

I actually thought the whole thing was portrayed in the best light possible. If that was a legacy airliner sitting in that intersection we would be hearing newsreports about the "crash" and not about the "hard landing" they keep talking about on the news here in D/FW.
"Reality has a well-known liberal bias." --Stephen Colbert
 
wjcandee
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 4:31 am

In response to a couple of comments, which I appreciate and which seem thoughtful:

(1) Obviously, I don't hate WN, nor am I pouncing on them. Frankly, I hope that someone there notices our discussion and thinks about what we are saying. Because they need some help on this.

(2) This is interesting to me in the same was that aviation generally is. We look at accidents to gain lessons learned. Corporations do the same thing with the PR aspects of disasters and incidents, for the same reason: lessons learned protect the corporation later. There is a whole industry that has grown up to provide crisis management. The fact that southwest.com initially had an odd screen last night about a "service interruption" or some such shows that there was a plan in place that had details down to what to do/say on the web site as the thing unfolds. It's just not a sufficient plan.

(3) Southwest's people were working directly with the Department of Aviation (Chicago) immediately and were getting good marks from the City people. The Aviation people were talking positively about Southwest doing this or that or planning this or that. Two hours later, the top people in Dallas didn't have this information, or at least acted like they didn't.

(4) The press will receive a lot of information from the airline "on background". This means that you get the reporter aside and explain stuff to him or her, being fair and not shading things, so they understand the context of the information they receive. You can't avoid the bubblehead script-readers making stupid comments ("they broke the sound barrier? Why were they flying so fast?"), but the underlying reporters and producers are usually bright people who want to understand what they're talking about and if you give it to them simply, and give them some good sound bites and some perspective, you'd be surprised how helpful it can be. If you give them good background, it's helpful to them and to you. However, reporters know to consider the source, and to present a balanced story they'll get opinions from all sides. But this means that they are *expecting* Southwest to get its position out there competently, and they'll use as much of it as seems to be fair and accurate. Because Southwest is a darling, it has lots of credibility. Don't doubt for a second that Southwest's competitors and opponents aren't getting out there on background with reporters, pitching this crap about the runway length, the decision to land, the rapid growth of southwest, the previous poor decision-making at BUR, the "dangerousness" of airports in urban areas, the "experience" of pilots, etc. That's just business and politics.

(5) I'm not saying they should get out there and say "It isn't our fault", or go out of their way to defend the crew, which would be wrong. But, they need to be giving unassailable facts, accurately, that put them in the best light. An example is Gary's statement (which I personally made elsewhere as an example) that "we have been operating there for 20 years without incident". That's a factual statement that has a significant ability to counteract the runway-length issue. What Gary should have said, BTW, is "We have been operating 737s there for 20 years without incident." More directly addresses the issue.

(6) Similarly, after telling their story with unassailable facts, they need to be LISTENING to what others are saying, and getting more unassailable facts out there to keep their story on track. For example, to the runway length issue. NObody yet has made the following to important factual observations: (1) With respect to runway length, landing a 737 at Midway is just as safe as landing or taking off a 747 at OHare; (2) While there is lots of grass around the runways at, say, O'Hare, the useable safe area isn't that significant, on background you can reference the gulleys, ditches, hills, light fixtures, etc. that exist and get hit when aircraft overrrun the end, citing fatal accidents on other airlines that did exactly that (of course, only on background);

(7) They've had plenty of experiences to have given them expectations and practice on this. BUR was almost identical in terms of being a runway overrun in which no passenger died and a great photo-op for the media. It shouldn't have been hard for them to game-plan about what they should have done if someone had been killed, because someone should have been killed at BUR.

(8) As to "Gary being Gary". Swell. But don't think for a second that a CEO at any major company just walks into the job. Being groomed for being a CEO involves lots of work on one's interpersonal skills, sales skills, speaking skills and presenting skills. He may be being who he is, but who he is has been polished by years of trying to be good at his job. There are natural components of being a good leader, and there are learned components. Crisis response is a learned component, and it has rules. One is: People should look like what they are expected to look like. You don't wear a t-shirt to a funeral. The ValuJet guys initially responded to the Miami incident by holding press conferences in their casual shirts and pants, which was part of their "informal" image. That was a HUGE mistake, which hurt their credibility, and made it seem like they didn't care or weren't competent, and soon they were wearing suits and ties at press conferences. When Gary is up there representing his company, he should be putting his best foot forward in terms of presenting himself to the public, because he is, in some sense, selling himself. My point about his appearance is valid, and someone ought to tell him. He's a good-looking guy who is showing a weak side by tilting forward oddly to show off his thinning hair when he doesn't have to.

In any event, my basic point, meant to be helpful, was that a company has a specific, defined role in responding to a crisis that affects the company. And playing that role well is expected by the media and by shareholders and by employees. Why allow fear of the company to be created that will take millions of dollars of marketing to overcome? And WN isn't doing the kind of job it should be doing, and they should be getting some folks in there ASAP who can turn this ship around.
 
PlanesNTrains
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 4:32 am

Quoting S12PPL (Reply 17):
I think you are going a little over board with attacking WN's PR staff. Why do you care so much what they say? It isn't your airline, so what's the big deal? If they are really doing such a horrible job, then people will refuse to fly them. But, let's face the facts. WN will not likely go under from this one incident. That is very un-likely. I think you have too much time on your hands if you can sit here and rag this much on WN...Then you need to find a hobby

I think this is his hobby.....

If you disagree with him, say so, but it shouldn't really matter "why he cares so much" - have you read the threads on this forum? The majority should have that same question asked as the first reply.

-Dave
-Dave
 
wjcandee
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 4:35 am

Quoting Kevi747 (Reply 23):
the "hard landing" they keep talking about on the news here in D/FW.

Shows that Southwest is thought of fondly by the media in Dallas. Here in New York, it's being portrayed as a "crash" or a "fatal accident", with the connotations that those words have. It's not being portrayed in the national media as the aircraft having "overrun the runway" which is the accurate portrayal given that it went straight off the end. Rather it is "veered off the runway" or "slid off the runway".

PS Thanks, Dave! I appreciate it!

[Edited 2005-12-09 20:48:15]
 
SunValley
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 4:41 am

Quoting Wjcandee (Reply 26):
Shows that Southwest is thought of fondly by the media in Dallas. Here in New York, it's being portrayed as a "crash" or a "fatal accident", with the connotations that those words have. It's not being portrayed in the national media as the aircraft having "overrun the runway" which is the accurate portrayal given that it went straight off the end. Rather it is "veered off the runway" or "slid off the runway".

This type of reaction from someone of your stature is about what it's worth. similar to a dime novel, a dime attorney.
You are PATHETIC. Go sue someone OK
 
wjcandee
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 4:55 am

Quoting SunValley (Reply 27):
This type of reaction from someone of your stature is about what it's worth. similar to a dime novel, a dime attorney.
You are PATHETIC. Go sue someone OK

I'm not sure I understand your comment about this excerpt. I'm saying that WN is lucky that in its hometown it's well-perceived, but here far away from there, the characterizations aren't as charitable. The premise of this thread is that they have an ability to state accurate facts to the media that will reduce the number of inaccurate/negative reports.

While I'm at it, Southwest needs also to give context for the aircraft circling for 35 minutes before being cleared to land. The media seem to think that this indicates that it was dangerous to land. Southwest should be saying that this aircraft, along with ____ other aircraft from ___ other carriers, were put into a circular holding pattern about 50 miles away from the airport and cleared to land with more spacing then usual between them.
 
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LN-MOW
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:05 am

Quoting Planespotting (Reply 7):
the claims you are making are outrageous. The Gary Kelly you saw speaking is who Gary Kelly is. He dressed like Gary Kelly does, he looks like Gary Kelly, he talks like Gary Kelly...who the F*ck do you expect him to be?

In a time of crisis, he needs to stand up as a firm leader and a figure of authority. He did not come across as one.

Quoting Planespotting (Reply 7):
Gary Kelly always dressed like that

Then it's time to do something about it. He's the public front of the country's largest domestic carrier, and need to look and act like it.

Quoting AsstChiefMark (Reply 21):
The media seems to WANT to screw things up

So why help them?
- I am LN-MOW, and I approve this message.
 
Tornado82
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:06 am

Quoting Wjcandee (Reply 24):
"We have been operating 737s there for 20 years without incident."

He did say that... "It's a safe airport where we've had a fine operation in the city of Chicago for 20 years" I believe is what he said. Same basic idea.

Quoting Wjcandee (Reply 26):
Here in New York, it's being portrayed as a "crash" or a "fatal accident"

But it is a "crash" and "fatal accident"
Crashed through the fence/wall/barrier, and crashed into cars on the street.
Fatal because that poor little boy did die.
Accident because it surely wasn't on purpose.

NYC media isn't spinning it. If anything I think Dallas media are the spinners here. "Hard landings" don't kill people outside of the airport perimeter. A hard landing might blow some tires or something, but you're not going to end up on Central Ave.

I still haven't seen a point in all of this rambling from you though.
 
dadoftyler
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:09 am

WJ,

You get my vote for the "Mr. Blackstone Ultimate Shallowness" award.  Yeah sure

Public flogging because Gary had the audacity to show his bald spot on national media? Drawing and quartering because he didn't wear a suit for a news conference at 10:30 p.m.? If you (and the events) weren't so obviously serious, this entire thread would be funny.

I, for one, think Gary did a great job, given the time of night, the info that he had available, and the fact that this is the first event of its kind that he's ever had to act as spokesperson for. I'm certain neither the public nor the media are going to think any less of Southwest or of Gary because he gave a media update in "business casual" attire. He gave the facts that were known at the time as soon as was practical, and didn't waste time spinning or sugar-coating them. Other than making you look really shallow, your nit-picking every word the man uttered sounds like a protracted exercise in armchair quarterbacking. Gary, and Southwest, reacted and behaved exactly as they should have--by putting people first, and appearance way, way back in the pack.

dadoftyler
 
luv2fly
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:14 am

The ironic thing is if that Gary showed up in a button down suit and all styling people would be finding fault with that also. I believe he showed up as who he was and who/what his airline is, even in a difficult time like this, he and WN are staying true to there roots. Get a grip!
You can cut the irony with a knife
 
wjcandee
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:16 am

Quoting Tornado82 (Reply 30):
I still haven't seen a point in all of this rambling from you though.

Tornado: I agree that the Dallas characterization is too soft. I also think that the "Deadly Crash in Chicago" that I heard on NY1 a minute ago is overstated. Ideally, if I were on the media response team at WN, I'd be pitching to reporters or editors that this is "Runway Overrun Kills Boy In Car" or something more accurate. Believe it or not, folks in the media do as a goal want to be accurate.

My "rambling" is offered to make one point: Southwest needs to spend some money right now to get some outside crisis management PR help in there. The downside is having to spend money later on marketing and image recovery. I say this as someone who thinks that there is only the remotest possibility that Southwest will be found to be entirely blameless in this incident, but as someone who also believes that they are entitled to fair treatment and should be acting to protect themselves and their employees. I have also tried to highlight the dangers to themselves and their business plan (i.e. using smaller airports, including DAL) if they really drop the ball on this. That's it, in a nutshell.
 
wjcandee
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:25 am

Quoting Dadoftyler (Reply 31):
Gary, and Southwest, reacted and behaved exactly as they should have--by putting people first, and appearance way, way back in the pack

Respectfully, that's not right. This is a billion-plus-dollar corporation. Part of any crisis plan should be appropriate attire sitting in a closet at HQ ready for use, just as they had a shell web page ready in the event of a crisis. If not, somebody should have been dispatched to the Park Cities mall or to NorthPark. They could have been back with something suitable by the time Gary had received a full briefing from the staff.

You can call me shallow if you want, but when you're playing the game with the big boys, details count. All I'm doing, like it or not, is stating stuff that people learn in very basic business school courses. You may want to think that people aren't shallow and don't look at the TV and size somebody up by what they look like, but they do. No reason to deny it or be angry at me about it; they should just fix it because it takes like two seconds to say, "Gary, here's your suit, here are a couple of talking points, and don't tilt your head all the way down when glancing at your notes." Done.
 
GoAllegheny
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:32 am

Since I don't watch television, I missed Kelly's bald spot. However, I was impressed that Southwest's website homepage last night by 11 pm or so EST focused exclusively on the accident. No attempt to hide anything.

If I was a reporter, I certainly would have used the phrase "skidded off the end of the runway, or something like that. It did skid off the runway. No question about it. Might have even veered a little.

And the print media have explained the 737-700 fairly well, and have mentioned the anti-skid and other braking systems.
 
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casinterest
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:36 am

Quoting Wjcandee (Reply 34):



Quoting Wjcandee (Reply 34):

You can call me shallow if you want,

Fine,
I will call you shallow. And Pathetic.


1. A trajedy occurred
2. It occurred after normal business hours
3. Details are sketchy.
4. Information is limited. IE (a plane overan the runway and people were injured and a life was lost)

I don't care how a person appears and gives infomation as long as it is given.
He is CEO for a reason, and it isn't to appeal to people that worship golden gods.
Older than I just was ,and younger than I will soo be.
 
luv2fly
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:45 am

Quoting Wjcandee (Reply 34):
"Gary, here's your suit, here are a couple of talking points, and don't tilt your head all the way down when glancing at your notes." Done.

Or just go out there and do what you feel is best, after all your the boss for a reason. He already got the job, he is not running for public office.
You can cut the irony with a knife
 
wjcandee
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:46 am

Quoting CasInterest (Reply 36):
A trajedy occurred
2. It occurred after normal business hours
3. Details are sketchy.
4. Information is limited

Sorry. This is an event that one can completely anticipate. It occurred at 7-something local time at WN's headquarters. Being a top-notch CEO, I am sure that Kelly was immediately notified and returned immediately to headquarters from wherever he was. They have a plan, and the plan's goal is to get good information immediately into the hands of the top executives, who can then start preparing what to say and when to say it. In my view, the plan didn't produce as good a result as should have been expected. The fact is that Southwest had competent, experienced folks of their own on the scene at a major Southwest station within moments of the incident, and those folks were in a position to convey very clear detailed info to Gary. There were also media sources broadcasting live. The challenge is to take the stuff you can actually see on the TV and blend it with the information being provided by your folks and getting communication established with the right folks to get the right details. Part of being in this business is having a plan that accomplishes this to protect your employees and shareholders. And Gary's appearance is only one component of the plan that I think was inadequate. What it said to me, however, was that the overall plan wasn't sufficient or wasn't properly being executed.
 
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casinterest
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:56 am

Wjcandee:
The details that were provided were all that could be provided. If information was limitied it is only because scum-sucking ,ambulance-chasing lawywers can twist information however they want.
This was an accident, and I am sure it has a root cause, but there is no way to get accurate information on that immediatly. It is going to take details that will involve the particpation of many government, airline, and airport agencies along with interviews to determine what caused the incident. Just because slap-happy information hogs can't get their information , should be no cause for alarm
Older than I just was ,and younger than I will soo be.
 
wjcandee
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 6:11 am

Quoting CasInterest (Reply 39):
Wjcandee:
The details that were provided were all that could be provided. If information was limitied it is only because scum-sucking ,ambulance-chasing lawywers can twist information however they want.
This was an accident, and I am sure it has a root cause, but there is no way to get accurate information on that immediatly. It is going to take details that will involve the particpation of many government, airline, and airport agencies along with interviews to determine what caused the incident. Just because slap-happy information hogs can't get their information , should be no cause for alarm

I couldn't agree more with almost everything that you said. I am making a different point. You can't sit by and let the story spin out of control. There are clear, unassailable pieces of information that you can provide to the media that will keep the story where it should be, and you can present that information in a way that maximizes your credibility. I gave some examples above. That hasn't been done effectively, which surprises me given Southwest's size.

As to Gary "doing what he feels is best"...that would be like landing a transport category aircraft without looking at the approach plate or using a checklist. The fact is that the great CEOs get the best advice from the best people and then do what they feel is best. In my view, Gary didn't get some very basic information and advice, and the plan didn't deliver. In order to make sure that their image is preserved in one of their biggest markets, Southwest needs to act now to correct that. This isn't BUR, it's MDW. Most folks' only recollection of Air Florida is a tail fin sticking out of the Potomac. The MDW incident resulted in an equally-powerful visual image, broadcast not only to one of its biggest markets but also nationally. In order to protect its market share, WN needs to be doing everything it can do, and they aren't doing that.

Here's the bottom line: When the latest press release on WN's web site (which is seven hours old now) expressly states that the aircraft "VEERED off the runway" when it didn't, something is very, very wrong at HQ.

That said, I am confident that various respected people will reach Gary and Herb, tell them a perhaps-more-polite version of what I am saying, and we will see improvement within the next 24 hours. Sadly, however, the cattle is already out of the pen to some degree.

But it isn't over: the report just out this afternoon is that "Midway doesn't meet federal safety standards" (referring to the new NTSB-recommended requirement for 1000-foot overrun areas). Hmmmm....I wonder who is pushing that angle on the story "on background"....hmmmm..... This stuff needs to be addressed before a lot of WN traffic starts to move elsewhere in Chicago.
 
irelayer
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 7:21 am

This is just another pointless, negative, counter-productive, WN bash thread by someone who has a bone to pick with the airline. There was an accident. An innocent child died and people were injured. That is all I am concerned about.

-IR
 
planespotting
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 7:28 am

Quoting Wjcandee (Reply 40):
As to Gary "doing what he feels is best"...that would be like landing a transport category aircraft without looking at the approach plate or using a checklist

in visual conditions, landing without looking at an approach plate is a synch!
Do you like movies about gladiators?
 
B777fan
Posts: 135
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 7:35 am

Quoting Wjcandee (Thread starter):
I am just shocked at how amateurish Gary Kelly's...

Wjcandee,

I'm afraid I couldn't disagree more.

What matters is that they show they care, and that they will be there to stand by anyone injured or killed in this crash.

They did that very effectively. Your statements are about spin, and spin only. If one's focus is spin only, as all of your suggestions were, then you will come off as very insincere and the spin will be worthless.

They need to keep communicating from the top and demonstrate that they care about the death and injuries. I believe they are sincere and I believe it is getting through the media madness.
 
airlinelover
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 7:50 am

Right now the NTSB lady is saying hte touchdown was normal.. Speeds were standard for the type, etc etc.. all accordign to the FDR..

She's also saying that due to the snow they don't have the physical point of TD yet, but will be able to figure it out from the FDR data..

Chris
Lets do some sexy math. We add you, subtract your clothes, divide your legs and multiply
 
Gnomon
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 7:58 am

Quoting Wjcandee (Reply 24):
a company has a specific, defined role in responding to a crisis that affects the company. And playing that role well is expected by the media and by shareholders and by employees.

As a former newspaper reporter myself, I can attest that Wjcandee is, as always, spot on. Thank you for making the points above.

I think the significance of finely honed corporate communications is lost on most people because they don't realize that, every day, they're the unwitting audience of finely honed corporate communications.
 
wjcandee
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 7:58 am

Quoting B777fan (Reply 43):
Your statements are about spin, and spin only

I appreciate your thoughts, Bob. However, do note that I consistently say that they should be providing "unassailable facts" as background. Not spin. Facts. There are plenty of "good" facts that WN can and should be getting out there to keep the story focused on what it should be focused on. This is just one more aspect of marketing: damage control. They're obligated to their shareholders and employees to practice it as expertly as they practice their marketing. While WN may try to pretend that they're just a bunch of folks all hanging out together and running a great airline, they are incredibly scientific and precise about virtually every aspect of their airline, from hiring (where they personality-test more extensively than any other carrier, or at least used to) to operations to marketing.

I'm unclear on why it's perceived as so offensive to say: (1) they aren't getting the facts out that they should be (not facts about causation, but facts about Southwest, Midway, the airport conditions, the result, the aircraft, their experience at Midway, their folks, their procedures, etc.); (2) Gary didn't put forward the best possible face of his organization, and someone should clue him in so that he does in the future; (3) in a crisis, when your own team clearly doesn't have the skill set necessary, you go out and hire it immediately; and (4) spending money now on crisis management means not spending money later on trying to win back business from scared travelers and not having to fight harder to get the ability to use or expand use of certain airports.

I have never tried to get them to "spin" this, just to tell THEIR story effectively, as they have the right to do and are expected by their various constituants to do.
 
jwb20
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 8:09 am

Im not going to blame the pilots till I have all the facts, but I think that Midway wasn't designed for jets. The runways are way to short they need to find a way to extend them or something. Having a icy short runway is not good. Really I think that the flight should have been diverted to someplace else close by.

Heart goes out to that little boy  Sad
Flying is a mans bestfriend
 
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TheRedBaron
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 8:12 am

The airline is a steamroller...
People will continue to fly
People who like the airline will still fly it, no matter what.
WN has excelent safety record
Maybe the situation could be handled better, but guess what? WN doesnt get 3 crashes a years to practice on...  Wink
Even if handled perfectly , a ton of idiots that handle the news media would still spin everything in a bad wayy to make news more "interesting"...the same fools that do not know the diference between an Airbus and a Boeing!!! WN is doing good avoiding a ton od tech info, because frankly 95% of the people do not know, do not care or will think they are hiding something behind a ton of facts...

my .02
The best seat in a Plane is the Jumpseat.
 
AirWillie6475
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RE: WN Should Fire Its PR Staff And Advisors

Sat Dec 10, 2005 8:15 am

Quoting Hiflyer (Reply 14):
However, issues were raised then by the press and from within the industry about the fabled "Southwest mentaility" of quick taxiing, quick approaches, and other methods of saving time.

Perhaps what we were seeing is the begining of the defense against the eventuality of those issues being raised again....play it lowball and not capable yet of the sharp questions.

Actually a WN captain on this website commented about a week ago in another thread that since the Burbank incident, the company has completely retrained the pilots in new safer procedures because after a study WN found that it's practices of saving time did pose some dangers to the safety of the operation. With emphasis on having stabilized approaches.

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