Washington D.C. - Examples of Royal Air Maroc (Morocco’s national airline known as RAM) bad service and management incompetence have been in stark display at New York’s JFK airport.
Washington D.C. – Examples of Royal Air Maroc (Morocco’s national airline known as RAM) bad service and management incompetence have been in stark display at New York’s JFK airport.
Videos of desperate and angry travelers stranded in the American airport continue to surface on social media hurting not only the image of RAM, but the reputation of Morocco as a tourist destination. Yet, neither the pleas of frantic customers nor the embarrassment and humiliation this “national” airline has brought to the country have moved a company official into action. RAM is now a national disgrace on the international scene.
Will this incident be the breaking point that would compel the “power to be” shielding the company’s CEO from accountability to act and help save face? For now this will remain an open ended question.
As the news speared around the airport that RAM flight number AT 203, scheduled to take off last Thursday from JFK to Casablanca, was canceled, protesters (AKA RAM customers who paid exorbitant amount for their tickets to Morocco) went into a frenzy looking for company representatives who were nowhere to be found.
As it became clear that the flight will not make it in time for the passengers to celebrate Al-Eid (a Muslim holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan) with family and friends, some went into a riot mode making so much racket and commotions at the international airport that the police had to intervene to calm furious customers.
This was not a flight delay but rather numerous cancelations of flights with little or no notice and no clear explanations. As seen on many videos, Moroccan and American travelers were anxiously looking for airline officials to get information but to no avail. Flyers paying $1500 a ticket were left rotting at the airport with no information or guidance in violation of American Federal law.
RAM is not only inconveniencing customers who paid high prices for their tickets but rather relegating its duties under the Warsaw Convention, “an international convention which regulates liability for international carriage of persons, luggage, or goods performed by aircraft for reward”. In fact, U.S. and Moroccan consumers have every right to file a complaint.
Videos of such incidents should alone lead to the resignations of some RAM officials. Yet, as we have seen in the past this shameful images will not lead to any changes to the organization’s irresponsible leadership or adjustments in the cavalier attitudes of some of the company’s employees. In short, RAM does not care.
Regardless of whether or not we fly Royal Air Maroc, the way this airline has handled its customers should be of a concern to the flying public. While I seldom fly RAM, the actions and behaviors of the national airline is a reflection on the nation and thus is a source of apprehension to me and to other Moroccans. Many of the unfortunate RAM customers who “willingly or unwillingly” fly the airline have few alternatives and hence need the support and the indignations of all of us.
Most of RAM customers got used to a degraded service over the years. In recent years, Moroccans and foreigners have endured frequent broken-down planes and snappier gate agents and flight attendants. However, the recent carelessness of the Moroccan national airline at JFK has pushed its customers to unprecedented indignation and outrage. Leaving dozens of travelers stranded in an airport for days is indeed a major blow to the image of Morocco.
If history is a judge, the JFK fiasco will have no impact on the culture of indifference and bad service plaguing RAM. Moroccans and visitors will have to suffer RAM or take longer flight to visit the Kingdom.
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