As the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 continues, a question is brought to light – what is an airline’s responsibility to victims’ families in the event of a disaster?
Perhaps the biggest and most important responsibility is quick, constant, and honest communication. The carrier has the best information regarding who was on the plane, emergency contacts, and other crucial details. The only way family members are able to access this information is by being informed by the carrier. If not, they’ll be left out in the dark. For the relatives of the 229 passengers on-board MH370, it has been extremely difficult to cope since they claim that Malaysian authorities aren’t releasing everything they know. The carrier is also being criticized for not providing information in a timely manner. In an effort for authorities to be more transparent, family members have threatened a hunger strike.
Another responsibility an airline should have is physical and mental support. This includes hotel and travel accommodations, as well as sympathy. As for hotel accommodations, family members of passengers aboard MH370 have been staying at Beijing’s Metropark Lido Hotel. If the debris near Perth is confirmed to be from the missing plane, Malaysia Airlines will fly them to Perth. Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Jauhar Yahya also promised that the company will take care of family members should they make plans to stay near the wreckage site.
While these are some of the major responsibilities outlined in the National Transportation Safety Board’s 75-page plan, it only affects U.S. based airlines and accidents that take place within the country. Recall the crash of Asiana Flight 214 that killed three people and injured more than 200 people last summer in San Francisco – the carrier was fined half a million dollars for not immediately notifying victims. How do you think Malaysia Airlines is performing with regards to taking responsibility for its missing jet? Let us know your thoughts below.