When I used to work in my fathers socks factory I learnt a unique lesson. A worker whom I used to work on a machine with would be extremely co-operative and proactive during the day shift that would end at 1530 hours. At 1532 he would change and step out of the factory gate. At 1536 along with a bunch of other workers he would shout the most imaginative of all slogans against me, my father and our company and blow his lungs out. The next day, at 0700 hours, he would be saintly working the machines till 1530 hours.He was protesting for things he wanted while respecting the business that employed him. He was getting noticed in the right way.

What happened at Jet Airways was outright disgusting. The pilots in question actually hijacked the airline – just that the planes were on the ground. Not flying and leaving passengers grounded  is as good as flying the planes and threatening to crash us if demands are not met. Either way they ‘screwed’ us.

Jet Airways in India is no longer an airline with planes that flies people around – it’s the gold standard of the new business model in India. Each flight demonstrates precision, etiquette, attention to detail, safety, and comfort – the essential ingredients of any business today, be it serving pizzas, running an airport or managing a mall. As India migrates from an agrarian and manufacturing based economy to a service oriented one, we need thousands of Jet Airways to be replicated. Sure, there need to be logical and business like processes to redress employee issues – but showing a gun means you are a criminal.

I believe that the afflicted passengers should file a class action suit against the pilots and sue their pants off. They should be held responsible for inconveniencing the lives of not just the travelers but also the folks they were to meet – be it family, business etc. These hijackers need to be told something that Ronald Regan immortalized – ‘you can run but you cant hide’.

**********

Originally posted on Sept. 17, 2009 on rodinhood.com

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