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As a Life Flight helicopter pilot residing just outside of Joplin, Missouri; my father-in-law knew he would be needed to help airlift critically wounded victims of the recent tornado to nearby medical facilities. What he didn’t know is that according to Frontier Airlines, his duty to save lives isn’t as important as their corporate refund policy.
The day before the tornado hit, my father-in-law was preparing to fly to Utah so he could see his youngest daughter walk across the stage to receive her high school diploma. With his airfare purchased, bags packed and a day to spare, he thought he had planned for everything – that is until Mother Nature came calling. Without hesitation, he raced to work, put on a flight suit and got down to the heroic business of saving lives. After working round the clock shifts he was physically and emotionally spent. Recognizing he’d never make the graduation, he called Frontier Airlines to make arrangements for another flight – the best he could do now would be to give his graduate a belated congratulatory hug.
You can imagine how surprised he was when Frontier Airlines refused to reschedule his flight without charging him $450 for the original ticket and another $450 for the new one. After explaining the reasons why he needed to reschedule his trip, Frontier Airlines offered him all the sympathy of a lion taking down a gazelle as they rattled off their company refund policy.
So, while people and companies around the world are making contributions, providing assistance and praying for the victims, the rescue workers and all those impacted or affected by the tornado – Frontier Airlines is ditching all civility (some might even say patriotism) for a $450 plane ticket. Wow! Even Gordon Gekko would think that’s cold!
While I recognize the personal nature of this example, I believe it speaks to a larger issue. More and more there is a greater recognition that in the realm of homeland security, there are no bystanders. Whether you’re a hot dog vendor in NYC that saves the day by reporting suspicious smoke coming from a parked car or a first-responder running into harms way to help victims following natural events – we each play a part in the protection, detection, response and recovery of the homeland from all hazards. When a person or business abdicates their responsibility for self-interest or corporate greed, we all lose.
We’re in this thing together people. Judging by the tremendous outpour of love, affection and service going out to Joplin, I’d say everyone but Frontier Airlines got the message.
Originally posted in Security Debrief.