Garuda Indonesia has dropped a defamation case made against vlogger Rius Vernandes, after he posted a viral video of a handwritten menu on board a business class flight. The airline has also given Vernandes a complimentary first-class flight ticket, asking for another honest review in return, according to his Instagram post.
The move drew positive responses from followers on Vernandes' update post, which has garnered over 56,500 likes and 2,700 comments within three days. The peace agreement, according to various local media reports, was signed by Garuda Indonesia president director Ari Ashkara, the airline's employee union Sekarga head Tomi Tampati, Vernandes and lawyers from both parties at a press conference.
In a statement to Marketing Interactive, the airline said the police report was initiated by members of its employee union, who felt "disadvantaged" by the news that arise following the social media content. However, it said the management understand that it was an action of their "solidarity and loyalty for the sustainability of the company" and would like to keep their spirit.
“I understand if our employees were disturbed by that social media post, but I also have to consider that Vernandes’ post can be a reflection for management to always improve,” said Ashkara. He added that he believes each party had good intentions to help the Garuda Indonesia grow and develop as a national airline.
“Garuda Indonesia will continuously be involving wider community participation, including social media enthusiasts who strive to improve Garuda Indonesia’s services. Especially, knowing that the community's expectation and the influence of social media are getting higher as well,” said Ashkara.