COVID CRISIS A PR OPOPORTUNITY
FOR AIRLINES AND CRUISE LINES
published March 23, 2020 by Caribbean News Global and O'Dwyer's
By Rene A. Henry
SEATTLE, Wash., Mar.20 - Every crisis offers outstanding public relations opportunities for
forward-thinking, responsible executives. Since both the airline and cruise line industries are
asking US taxpayers to bail them out to the tune of some $100 billion or more, I believe now
is the time for them to do something to show the world their appreciation.
Thousands of US citizens from various countries are stranded throughout the world. While
the US State Department is doing little or nothing, Germany and Israel took the leadership
and are chartering airlines to bring home their citizens at no cost to their people.
Congress and the White House are pondering conditions for the financial gifts such as not
allowing stock buybacks and restricting management bonuses, but airline chief executive
officers could step forward and say they are ready to send planes to various countries to
bring home citizens without any charge. The Donald Trump administration is discussing
using US military aircraft for this effort.
This would be one small “thank you” Alaska, American, Delta, United, and other airlines
could show for getting help from the American public that it has nickeled-and-dimed and
made flying a hassle since de-regulation. There should be no cost to any passenger and
hopefully, the airlines would not charge the passengers they are bringing home for any
luggage or other money-generating gimmicks the industry has used since it was deregulated.
Most cruise lines are foreign-owned and very few US citizens work onboard the ships. The
traveling American public has been the profit generator for the industry. Many cities and
states are scrambling now building temporary hospitals and other spaces for those who
have tested positive or are infected with the virus. Consider the relief to US hospitals if ships
that accommodate thousands of passengers were docked in Seattle, San Francisco, Los
Angeles, New York, Miami, and other cities.
A cruise ship would be a perfect solution to accommodate those in need as well as the
medical staff. Ships are already equipped with all the facilities needed to house and feed
everyone. Necessary medical equipment and supplies could be brought on board. During
World War II all luxury cruise ships were converted to transport ships. Some cruise ships
were responsible for exacerbating the uncontrollable spread of the virus and many large
ships will be available now, and in the near-future with few people cruising these days.
Since several cruise lines had previous viruses spread quickly throughout their ships, such
as Norovirus, I was surprised none had a crisis plan in place to immediately ask help from
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the National Institute of Health
(NIH) and pay to have medical staff immediately provide assistance.
The expense involved by both the airline and cruise line industries to do this would be
nominal compared to what I believe they are now spending for lobbying. It would be a nice
way of showing appreciation to the American taxpayer for a financial bailout to keep a
foreign company profitable and in business. It also would be an outstanding public relations
opportunity that would win many friends and future passengers.
NOTE: Since this article was written, Mickey Arinson, owner of Carnival, the largest owner
of cruise lines in the world, offered to his good friend President Trump ships that could be
used for hospitals. Carnival, which is seeking a major bailout, wanted reimbursement for
Selected Op/Eds and Commentaries
To access any of the following click on the headline ...
COVID Crisis A PR Opportunity for Airlines and Cruise Lines, published March 23, 2020 by
Caribban News Global
Every crisis offers outstanding public relations opportunities for forward thinking, responsible,
progressive executives. Since both the airline and cruise line industries are asking U.S. taxpayers
to bail them out to the tune of $100 billion or more ...
Law Enforcement Must Communicate In Crises - published by Huntington News Network,
October 1, 2017
Unlawful actions and misconduct by rogue police officers are creating a serious negative image
for law enforcement and a significant and unbudgeted financial expense for the governments they
serve. For years, police who protect and serve were held in the highest regard by the public.
However, because of social media and the Internet a negative story about police misconduct
today instantly becomes national news across the country and throughout the world.
SEC and Congress Knew About Porno Problems November 2008, published by Huntington News Network,
May 1, 2008
The furor in the news about senior employees of the Securities and Exchange Commission watching
pornography instead of doing their jobs is not new news. It was first disclosed in the semi-annual SEC
Inspector General's September 2008 report to Congress that was made public the day after Thanksgiving. ...
Government Spokesmen Are Paid to Speak, published by O'Dwyers Public Relations News, April 30, 2008
Government spokespeople have an obligation to the taxpaying public to speak to the media when asked to do
Coal Mine PR Spinning U.S. Public, Congress, published by odwyerpr.com, April 14, 2010
Big Coal has done a PR job keeping regulatory, oversight and enforcement agencies weak and safety
standards below expectations. ...
Will People Ever Trust Banks Again?, Published by Huntington News Network September 28, odwyerpr.com
September 29, and Caribbean Net News, September 30, 2009
Banking once was a trusted and respected business. Even after the multitude of bank failures during the
Great Depression of the 1930s and the savings and loan crises of the 1980s and 1990s, bankers were the
pillars of their local communities. What banking and financial institutions need today is a modern-day
George Bailey, the role played by Jimmy Stewart in the 1946 movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” He had the
respect and trust ...
CEOs, PR Disconnect: 'Old school' vs. 'Don't Call Us, We'll Call You' -- Maybe, published January 24 by www.
odwyerpr.com and January 31 by Huntington News Network (click on each publication to access article)
As an author and writer, I get some of my best material from personal experiences. Today we have a new
breed of CEOs in Corporate America to whom I like to direct questions to see how they and their gate
guardians respond. That is, if they have the business acumen to even respond.
Why Can't Corporate America Tell the Truth?, published by Huntington News Network, September 7, 2008,
In the past decade, Corporate America has had far too many crises and scandals. As a result, thousands of
employees, shareholders, customers, vendors and others were impacted and a number of former CEOs and
senior executives are spending their time in prisons instead of board rooms. . . .
Know Your Opposition - When your company, organization or client is in an adversarial position, or
anticipating being in one, be sure you get to know everything you possibly can about your opposition. Only
when you do, will you be prepared to strategically implement your crisis communications plan. ...
Corporate America: It's Time to Listen; 'What We Have Here Is Failure to Communicate', published by
Huntington News Network, January 27, 2007
Harry S Truman said it best: "The buck stops here." And, during the 1980s, Britain's Lord Taylor, with the
same philosophy, established a model for customer service and communication by a CEO. ...
Hold AIG and All Bailout Firms to Federal Pay Scales, published by Huntington News Network, March 19, 2009
While Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) may have used several inappropriate words to criticize the $165 million
in bonuses given AIG management, he certainly reflected the anger and resentment of the American public
over the company rewarding employees for greed, mismanagement, incompetency and just plain stupidity. ...
Higher Education Needs to Get Itself Squared Away - This is a two-part series for Huntington News Network
that looked at the problems in higher education today and what presidents and chancellors of colleges and
universities and their governing boards need to do to make higher education accessible for everyone. The
articles look at problems of rising tuition and fees, the workload of faculty members and where CEOs need to
Part 1 - Another Financial Crisis For Higher Education, February 17, 2009
Part 2 - Football Can Be A Key to Balancing Budgets, February 18, 2009