A German travel vlogger who posted a critical review of a Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight on Jan 7 has since received over 100 abusive messages over Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, many more abrasive comments on his YouTube and Instagram pages, and even a death threat.
Josh Cahill, who started posting videos of airline reviews in January 2018 on his YouTube channel of the same name, told TODAY that despite previously posting more critical reviews of other airlines, this is the first time he has received such “intense” criticism, which he said is aggressive and threatening.
The 33-year-old went to the police for advice but stopped short of making a police report as it was difficult to track down the account holders without a name or proper profile.
He was advised to contact the police again if the abuse got more intense.
The account holder who made a death threat claimed to be an SIA staff.
In response, SIA said it was in contact with Cahill about the threat made but “without the details or any additional information”, it was unable to confirm if those who allegedly made the threats are its staff.
It added that should the police contact the airline about the matter, it would assist in investigations and ensure appropriate action is taken.
“If Mr Cahill’s allegations are found to be true, we will ensure that the appropriate action will be taken. As an airline that is committed to service excellence, Singapore Airlines takes all feedback seriously and requires our staff to treat our customers with professionalism and respect,” TODAY on Friday quoted the airline as saying.
Cabin crew the ‘biggest let down’
The post that drew flak from viewers is an 11-minute video titled “Singapore Airlines economy class — not worth the dollar!”, which has drawn 170,000 views.
After taking a 13-hour flight from London to Singapore, Cahill praised the in-flight meals and seats but said that the cabin crew was “the biggest let down” of the flight.
He described the crew as having a “zero-engagement policy” and that the service was “performance-based” with “little time left to engage with (their customers)”.
He had paid S$1,200 (27,000 baht) for the ticket, and said it was “definitely” not worth it, and that other airlines offer cheaper prices with “so much more” on offer.
“But overall, it is a brilliant product, don’t get me wrong,” he clarified in the video.
“(But) there is a lot of room for improvement, especially when you have this in-your-face, ‘we are the best in the world’ marketing, there is more to give.”
SIA has bagged Skytrax’s world best airline title four times since it was introduced in 2001, the latest being in 2018. Out of the 19 iterations, the national carrier has been in the top three spots 17 times.
In 2019, Qatar Airways beat SIA to take the top spot. SIA did, however, win other key awards, including a number for best cabin crew.
‘Never experienced anything like this’
Since his review was posted, Cahill’s YouTube and Instagram profiles have been filled with comments from irate SIA supporters.
“Your title is definitely over the line. Do not judge or make conclusions based on one flight,” read a comment by Instagram user @alicetan.93.
Many commenters pointed out that cabin crew have many passengers to tend to and are not obliged to make small talk with them; such personalised service may be sought in first class or business class.
While Cahill considered such comments as fair, he was also confronted with a flurry of racist and abusive comments, which he has since removed.
TODAY saw screenshots of some of these messages which commented on his race and also messages that were sent to his Singaporean girlfriend urging her to reconsider her choice of a partner.
“All I provided was honest feedback based on my experiences,” he said.
“I will not surrender to the bullies and racists, because the vast majority love my honest, consumer-friendly reviews.”
He added that aside from the negative reviews, which are “the ones that stand out”, he has also received an “equal amount of supportive comments too”.
Cahill is currently travelling across Vietnam, reviewing airlines in the region.