Captain Has Family Detained By Airport Security For Criticizing The Airline

Jessica Wijaya, who tweets about the stock market, was traveling with her husband and children from Jakarta to Bali on SkyTeam member Garuda Indonesia. She took to twitter to share what happened to her on flight GA404 on Saturday. She says that the flight’s pilot had her family detained for three hours after they arrived.

Their flight was delayed for an hour. Her oldest child needed to use the lavatory, but the flight attendant said they couldn’t get up. If you ask if it’s ok, they have to say no though it’s possible in this case the plane was on an active taxiway since the delay involved clearing the runway.

When her son couldn’t use the bathroom he started to complain about his stomach. Her husband started griping to her about the airline. And flight attendants overheard the complaints.

On arrival she says they made it to baggage claim but were stopped from leaving the airport on order of the flight’s captain who instructed airport security to hold the family. Airport security, after some time, let the family go.

Apparently complaining to one’s spouse about the airline isn’t grounds for physical detention by security forces. Indeed, if it was half the air travelers in American would be in prison.

The country’s Transportation Minister has warned the state-owned airline not to allow similar incidents to occur again, because “passenger comfort is the main key in airline service” and “”air transportation is the spearhead in the development of national tourism.” In other words, if the airline treats passengers this way they won’t come to Indonesia. Garuda Indonesia has apologized for the incident.

Via Google translate, the Minister said “airplanes, flights, are the cutting edge of tourism. So if the operator does not prepare customer satisfaction this will be problematic. So I expect Garuda to do something with this customer and make this an expensive lesson and things like this shouldn’t happen.”

They were business class passengers. She apparently “made reference to members of Garuda’s board of commissioners, who she claimed to know and would call about the incident.” Given the swiftness of response from the government and the head of the airline I wonder if her ‘DYKWIA’ act had teeth. Because while Indonesia is known for its hospitality, few Indonesians could get such quick customer service response.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Restrictions on the use of the lavatory are magically/instantly waived if you say you’re gonna throw up ( or variations on that theme).

  2. Gary –

    Do you know that the rules as you describe are actually the law in Indonesia?

    That sort of assumption about the things that are legal or minor infractions in some countries winds up with people in jail for a long time in places like Indonesia.

  3. Indonesia is a joke. Their airline safety is deplorable, and the airlines do what they want. Its such a shame. Their culture, food, and people are amazing. I dont’ understand why the government and these airlines keep shooting themselves in the foot for stupid reasons.

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