Business Travel Coalition (BTC) and FlyersRights.org today applauded FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt’s decision to require FAA staff to cease referring to airlines customers of the agency, long a concern of travel organizations
. The dysfunction caused by this misguided notion of airlines-as-customer is deeply rooted in FAA culture; the Customer Service Initiative was merely one manifestation. Bloomberg News reported
yesterday: “FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt, who has been in his job for less than four months, said at a news conference today, ‘When we say customer, we’re talking about the flying public. There has been some confusion in the past.’ ”
BTC and FlyersRights.org
believe FAA should completely remove the term “customer” from its lexicon as it will no doubt remain as a trigger for confused behavior as FAA culture still supports the airlines-as-customer construct. FAA needs to be a strong regulator with a mission to protect the flying public, period. Moreover, and importantly, politically favored and powerful airlines should not be overseen any differently
than smaller or less politically connected ones.