Malaysia Airlines has announced they are closing their family assistance centers in the next few days and encouraging the families to go home. They indicated they would keep the families apprised of any developments and, further, provide additional compensation. As expected, this resulted in an outcry from the families who continue to have no confidence in either the Airline or the Government.
Hopefully, effective arrangements of some type are being made to communicate with the families. While there have been reports that not all the families have internet access, there are other ways to communicate, whether by phone or in person. Predictably, the families are upset since they will be losing what appears to be one of their principal means of comfort . . . . one another.
While it is a “no-win” decision by the airline to close the family support centers located in hotels and encourage the families to return home, it is, nonetheless, a rational decision. The aircraft disappeared on March 8 and, after almost two months, we know very little more than we knew on that day. In fact, one company suggests that the on-going search is centered about 3000 miles from where it should be focused. While dismissed by the Malaysian Government, it nonetheless feeds the fires of distrust.
All of this being said, after two months and no airplane, it’s entirely rational to close the family assistance centers.
On March 22, there was a tragic mudslide in Washington State. After five weeks of searching and recovering the remains of 41 victims, officials have called off the active search, leaving two families, who lost loved ones and whose remains have not been recovered, without closure.
The brother of one of the victims who remains unrecovered is quoted as saying “The amazing thing is that of 43 people who were lost, 41 were found. So, do I have an issue? No. Reality is reality. We knew this day was coming sooner or later.”
Certainly, the MH 370 situation is different. Nothing has been found despite two months of search efforts. While those search efforts will continue, the decision to close the family assistance centers is, by no means, irrational or inappropriate.
“Reality is reality” and everyone knew this day was coming.
(Originally posted May 6, 2014)