United Airlines turns a doctor into a patient
The media continuously replayed shocking images of a bloodied passenger, Dr. David Doe, being forcibly removed from his seat by airport authorities in order to make room for a crewmember.
Flight 3411 out of Chicago was overbooked, and the problem needed to fixed without delay. With no one voluntarily willing to give up their seat, an airline agent ordered random bumping, and things started to get pretty rough when Dr. Doe’s turn came.
Naturally, the video of the incident spread like wildfire across social media, and the company’s name got seriously burned in the process.
The Fail :
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz responded by holding a press conference during which he downplayed the airline’s responsibility while failing to offer the slightest public apology. He compounded his gaffe a few days later in a memo to employees in which he claimed that the passenger had acted aggressively in an attempt to disturb public order.
Several days following the forcible removal of Dr. Doe, the airline finally apologized. But it was too little, too late. At the height of the crisis, United’s shares went into a tailspin, recording losses in excess of $1.4 billion.
The Moral :
Apart from the all too common practice of overbooking, United Airlines should have rapidly and convincingly reacted to limit damages when the video went viral. Instead, it chose to dig in behind an insensitive corporate stance. As consumers, we understand that to err is human, but the company has to show some humanity in the first place.
Source image : Usage Libre