United Airlines and Their PR Nightmare.

On Sunday April 9, 2017, United Airlines faced, in my opinion, one of their worst PR situations to date. On flight 3411, which was traveling from Chicago, Illinois to Louisville, Kentucky, a man was removed from the flight with excessive force by police officers due to the fact that United overbooked the flight to accommodate four of their own employees who needed to be in Kentucky the next day for work purposes. United offered four passengers who decided to leave the flight a free hotel stay and compensation. No one took the offer. United then boosted the compensation. One couple took the offer and left willingly with no force. United then went on to a “random selection” and chose the still unidentified passenger, who refused to leave because he was a doctor and had patients to see the next morning and the next flight to Louisville didn’t leave until the following afternoon. Airport security then went on to forcibly remove the man from his chair and drag him off the flight. Yes, DRAG.

CNN shared the video of the incident and the statement from United’s CEO, Oscar Munoz. The response from Munoz was not effective and a little insensitive. In his statement, Munoz made the passenger seem like he was the problem, when the problem was the use of violent force on a customer. In his response, he should have mentioned that United is not permitted to use force on a customer and that the police officers did not work for United Airlines and that they worked for Chicago O’Hare Airport, so they were not aware of United Airlines policies. Munoz could have mentioned that United employees are trained for situations like this and using force is never permitted. They also should have admitted that overbooking flight 3411 was their mistake and not the paying customers.

This is the perfect storm for a PR Crisis. This situation could have been handled completely differently, but you live and you learn.

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4 thoughts on “United Airlines and Their PR Nightmare.

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  1. Hi, Nina! I definitely agree that this situation could have been handled differently. Also, this crisis has given United Airlines a bad reputation which is not good. Also, great job on giving a vivid description of what happened. Thank you for posting. -Javonte’

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  2. have to agree with your opening statement, “On Sunday April 9th, 2017, United Airlines faces, in my opinion, one of their worst PR situations to date.”

    I love that you gave a summary with details of what happened. This story was on so many News outlets. Everyone has different point of views and opinions of what should be done next. United need to build a foundation of how to prevent something like this from happening again. Even though it was not United Airline security that aggressively took the man off the plain still gave them a terrible image.

    I have to agree with you on the CEO, Oscar Munoz statement. It did not seem very apologetic it is customer. His statement did portray as if the customer was the problem, and not the actual reasoning behind it.

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  3. Hi Nina! Your post about the United issue was very good. I agree with your opinion about how the situation could have been handled much differently. I think that United and the Chicago police were too intense and the apology from United was not helpful.

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  4. I really do agree with your statement. United Airlines has had a bad reputation on how they treat the guest. However people are still flying with them. Personality after this whole accident I will never fly with united airlines again. I feel like this is unacceptable not only in the work place but how to treat a human period. But great blog ! I really enjoyed readying it.

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