I was as amused as everyone else by the news this morning that a JetBlue employee quit in such a spectacular fashion this morning despite also thinking he was a bit crazy to do so in the way he did. If you haven't caught the story, see below:
The thing is - I think most of us that spend any time on planes can empathize with him. There are always a handful of people that make the experience pretty trying and I only have to deal with them for a very small part of my time. If I were a flight attendant I would likely go ballistic at some point too (which is part of the reason I am not... but I digress). My real point is, there are plenty of customers that are not right - particularly in their behavior in airports and airplanes. I think companies have as much responsibility to protect their employees as they do to protect their customers and that it is OK to very clearly set behavior expectations for customers and 'fire' them when they cannot commit to those standards.
The real problem is that I don't see companies wanting to clearly, vocally, and regularly set those expectations - it's like they are afraid to do so for fear of customer retribution. However, I think most customers would delight if an airline posted and regularly broadcast that if customers swear at each other or at their employees, they will be asked to get off the plane... or if they hit people with baggage... or push people.... or cut lines. As the entity creating the environment that customers experience, ensuring that the environment creates a positive experience for everyone is part of the product and brand experience.
If a customer is creating an environment that is negatively impacting your ability to deliver a positive experience to other customers (whether directly or indirectly by creating a hostile work environment for employees), I say it's time to fire the customer.