Thai Airlines Public Relations Office reels from world humiliation!

Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got it Infamy! – Thai Airways Press Officer-

Did he break crisis communication rule to speak?-

Expelling PR gnats

Oh god!, I’m thinking, I hope it’s not this guy’s first day in the press office. I hope his back is covered. If not it’s his last day in PR anywhere. Could be a vacancy?

But then of course it dawned. These remarks could only have come from a senior Thai Airlines executive.

I am of course referring to the attempted cover up of the Thai Airlines ‘crash landing’ at Suvarnabhumi airport at the weekend.

The media were astonished to be told the painting out of the airlines logos was normal international airline practice.

Guess which airline this is daddy?

Then Thai Airways official Smut Poem-On said that ‘blurring the logo’ after an accident was a recommendation from Star Alliance known as the ‘crisis communication rule’, meant to protect the image of both the airline and other members of Star Alliance.

– I think Smud should use another name for press conferences. To a western mind, it might bring on a limerick: As in “Thai Airways official There was a young lady from Venus said today” –

Anyway somebody had  better ditch this crisis communication rule pretty quickly.

I always thought that crisis communication rule was ‘Shut the xxxx up!”.

Never in my life have I seen such bad publicity for an airline within 24 hours of a, well it was not a crash more of an uncontrolled heavy landing, which often happens when the pilot bangs the plane in and the undercarriage collapses.

Thai Airways new image

The wires have had a field day! Its right across the world’s press and television. While the Bangkok Post led on a story about peeved passengers (rich Thais returning from China – not much international interest there) the real story was on the tail and fuselage, where ground staff  were busy covering the aircraft’s logos and national flag with their own graffiti.

It’s bad enough not being able to deal adequately with the disgorged passengers and wounded, but then, when things go wrong, you start to paint yourself out of the picture, the ignominy is inevitable.

Not such a gaff since since KTVU San Francisco broadcast
these names for the flight crew of the ill fates Asiana Flight 214

Thousands of kids around the world are saying today: “Look, mummy, daddy, look what Thai Airlines did”.
And the parents are thinking: “I wonder what Thai airlines will do when there is a real crash.”

And they may remember there has been no real resolution to the One-Two-Go crash in Phuket not so long ago – and a farcical run up to a vague report.

Its just like those police comments in cases of rapes of foreign tourists: ‘Well she went out to dinner with the man didn’t she?” or “She only objected when he tried anal”.  Official spokesmen in Thailand must come with their feet removed already.

Guardian: Thai Airlines Cover Up

Daily Mail – It’s a cover up!

Independent – How to turn an accident into a PR disaster

CNN: Thai logos blurred

About the Author

Andrew Drummond

Andrew Drummond is a British independent journalist and occasional television documentary maker. He is a former Fleet Street, London, journalist having worked at the Evening Standard, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, News of the World, Observer and The Times.

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