Landing Safely After A Crisis
How effective crisis comms saved FlySafair's reputation.
After a â€śone-in-a-million-chanceâ€ť experience of two unrelated loss of cabin pressure incidents on FlySafair flights (in a single week and the same aircraft), passengers and the South African public were concerned and confused, spreading fear on social media. But a research-guided, coordinated effort between agency and client turned a potential reputation nightmare into a positive news story, celebrating the training and professionalism of FlySafairâ€™s pilots and crew, as well as their textbook implementation of world class safety procedures.
For all its ease and convenience, manyÂ people still find flying relatively stressful.Â So imagine the shock when those littleÂ oxygen masks drop down in front ofÂ you â€“ the real life version of the safetyÂ instructions scenario most flyers tuneÂ straight out of. This was the situation facedÂ by passengers on two FlySafair flights inÂ January 2016, when the same aircraftÂ experienced two unconnected incidentsÂ of gradual loss of pressure, leading toÂ a controlled and safe, but unplannedÂ descent.
In an age of social media andÂ instant communication, a regrettableÂ but routinely managed scenario canÂ snowball, creating unnecessary fear andÂ panic. As word from the now-safely-on-the-ground passengers began to spread,Â FlySafair and WE got to work â€“ rolling outÂ a crisis communications campaign basedÂ on honest and accurate information,Â while managing any misconceptionsÂ that may crop up about the airlineâ€™sÂ safety credentials.
Ultimately, the campaign was soÂ well received that the initial negativeÂ comments were far outweighed byÂ positivity and support. And the tide ofÂ headlines swung firmly in our direction,Â with independent commentators and theÂ media acknowledging that FlySafairâ€™sÂ response was â€śby the bookâ€ť.