Naturally, views are divided on the gesture. Some are of the opinion that U.S. Airways is being quite generous, considering that the crash was not its fault and that the crew did a bang-up job saving everybody's lives. A few passengers, however, felt that the airline should do more. According to one survivor who escaped the plane with her husband and two kids, "They are happy they had such amazing results, and they applaud themselves, and then give us a small token?"
The way I see it, U.S. Airways doesn't necessarily owe the survivors some specific amount of money or perks, but it would have to have a tin ear to think such scant compensation would sit well with everybody. I don't know what the monetary value of Chairman's Preferred Status is, but to limit it to just one year - a year in which many survivors might not want to fly at all - has the appearance of being cheap and unsympathetic.
I'm sure the PR and "crisis management" industry is curious to see how this all plays out. After all, there's still a lot of goodwill out there for everybody involved in this crash, as evidenced by the flight crew's invitation to tonight's Super Bowl. If U.S. Airways plays its cards right, it could really come out ahead. But if it nickels and dimes the survivors simply because it can, the honeymoon could end as abruptly as the flight did.
[Photo: AP via Gothamist]
· Survivors' Gilt [New York Post]
· U.S. Airways Crash Landing Survivors Get Top Frequent-Flier Status [USA Today]
· Flight 1549 Goes On Another Trip [Gothamist]
· Flight 1549 Coverage [Jaunted]