What media, business experts are saying about United Airlines PR crisis

He refused to relinquish his seat when asked due to overbooking

The fallout continues to build after a video posted on social media late Sunday evening showed a passenger on a United Airlines flight being forcibly removed from the plane before takeoff at O’Hare International Airport went viral. 

One of the immediate questions most people had after watching the video was: What rights do passengers on overbooked flights really have? It turns out, not that many.


If not enough volunteers are found, the airline has the power to decide who gets “bumped” off the flight. Carriers spell this out in the “contract of carriage” that customers are bound to when they buy their tickets. But few fliers ever read that fine print, and such contracts don't always specify a clear order for such situations. - Ben Mutzabaugh , USA TODAY

 

Not surprisingly, United took a big hit on Wall Street as public perception of the company nosedived. 

United’s market capitalization, essentially the current value of the company, has fallen by more than $750 million from $22.5 billion after a video showing a bloodied United passenger who was dragged off a flight made headlines on Monday. - William Turton, Gizmodo

Brand experts are speaking out about how much damage has been done to the United brand with this recent news, speculating on the long road ahead for the company to rebuild goodwill with consumers. Some are saying the incident, and the company's response, will cause permanent damage

Brand and communications experts told Ad Age that this public relations nightmare could impact UA's reputation and business results in the long run, especially with the incident following just weeks after another sticky situation in which two teenagers were stopped from boarding a flight for wearing leggings. - Lindsay Stein, AdvertisingAge

The Chicago-based airline has been forced to deal with a number of public-relations challenges in recent years, making this latest battle even more difficult

United Airlines has suffered any number of public relations fiascos over the past six years. But few if any match the horrific image yesterday of a man being forcibly dragged by security officers down the aisle of the plane operating as United Express flight No. 3411 from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport to Louisville (Kentucky) International Airport. - Lewis Lazare, Chicago Business Journal

Most companies, at some point, will face a PR crisis. Many experts today are saying that United demonstrated how to make a crisis a total disaster

Public relations experts say the CEO should have quickly offered an unreserved apology after a customer was filmed on Sunday being forcibly removed from his seat and dragged down an overbooked aircraft's aisle. ... Instead, Munoz apologized only for "having to re-accommodate ... customers." - Alanna Petroff, CNN Money

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