Brad Tilden: It’s all about Respect

More than a thousand times a day, our planes take off, following a careful symphony of process and procedure, to make your flight safe and smooth.  And with each takeoff, our values guide us to operate safely and on-time, to provide great service, to do the right thing, and to be kind-hearted.

How we treat our guests, how we treat each other, and how our guests treat our employees and one another, should be no different.  At Alaska, we believe these interactions should be guided by respect, defined by Oxford as“due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others.”

Like each takeoff, we at Alaska think that respect is not only a value, but also a process – one that requires attention, by each one of us, every day.

We respect each other when we run a safe operation, when we welcome you aboard, when we listen, and when we follow up appropriately on your concerns.  We respect each other when we refuse to tolerate behaviors that put the safety of others at risk. Very simply, we expect our people to be their best, and to treat our guests and one another well.  We also expect our guests to be respectful to each other and to our crews.  We’re all in this together.

And when situations arise that are inconsistent with our values, we need to respond.   As a society, we’ve begun to talk more publicly about where respect has failed – and all of us here think these conversations are a really good thing.

Late last year, we shared a commitment publicly to do our part to address sexual misconduct that can occur on board aircraft.  This, too, is about respect.  I’ve asked each of our leaders to ensure that proper policies and procedures, proper training, and proper awareness exists to respond promptly and thoughtfully to incidents, and to report quickly, if incidents of harassment or assault do occur.

But because this work takes all of us, I’m writing to share an update. Here is what we’ve started:

  • We recognized the need to update training to support our employees.  We’ll continue to learn from our employees, labor partners, guests, law enforcement, and experts in the field to design new training and resources. To begin, we launched new training for flight attendants and added a sexual assault scenario to existing recurrent training based on information from RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, and the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center. This summer we’ll hold additional in-person training.
  • This spring, we’re hosting conversations about preventing and addressing sexual harassment and assault.
  • We’re developing training for all employees aimed at preventing sexual harassment and assault, and other forms of harassment, with a research-based approach focused on the impact of individual choices to shift social norms.
  • And we’re developing onboard resources to clarify how guests can support one another and our crews.  Every day, we see examples of how you look out for each other and for our employees.  We want to do our part to help make sure this continues.

To be clear, sexual harassment and assault have absolutely no place in our workplace, on board our flights, or any place.

In cases of violence or sexual assault, employees and guests should call 911 immediately. If you experience or observe an incident of sexual harassment or assault during a flight, please notify a flight attendant immediately.  Ring the call button if you’re unable to move out of your seat.  If needed, the flight crew can contact law enforcement to meet the aircraft upon landing.  Employees may also report concerns to HR or via a confidential 24/7 ethics hotline.

At Alaska, reported incidents are investigated to gather all available information.  Once an investigation has concluded, we act in accordance with our policies and values.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of how we are thinking about these important issues at Alaska. We are not done, and we are not alone. The broader the effort, the better we’ll foster a society in which all people are treated well.

Brad Tilden, Alaska Airlines CEO