Tuesday, April 11, 2017

United Airlines PR Nightmare

This photo, as well as countless other ones and videos, have been taking the internet by a storm. United Airlines forcibly removed a passenger from a flight from Chicago to Louisville after he refused to get off when he was randomly selected to disembark. He was dragged down the aisle by his arms with the rest of his body dragging on the ground.

United Airlines supposedly had to fly 4 crew members to Louisville after their original flight was canceled. They wanted to ensure that these crew members were to get to their destination so that another flight would not have to be canceled. While waiting in line to board the plane, passengers were offered $400 to voluntarily take the next flight. However, with the next flight being the following day, no one volunteered. Once passengers were seated, they then offered $800 and a free night in a hotel. This tempted 2 passengers to leave, however another pair of passengers were randomly selected by a computer.

These unlucky flyers were asked to gather their things and disembark the plane. However, one man refused, claiming to be a doctor who needed to get home to see patients. The airline called for security backup, who forcibly dragged him out of his seat and off the plane- distressing not only the man but of all those on the plane. There were reports of the man being knocked unconscious and bloodied by the amount of force used.

United Airlines later released this statement about the incident (after the video of said incident had millions of views):
Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked. After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate. We apologize for the overbook situation. Further details on the removed customer should be directed to authorities.
People were outraged by United Airlines statement, only apologizing for the overbooking and not for the mishandling of the passenger.  While the true accounts of the day have changed from different sources, it is true that the man refused to get off the plane and that he was dragged out. CNN stated that the United Airlines stock lost $600 million in todays stock market exchange.

Social media is what ultimately took United Airlines down. When 2 passengers took videos and posted it online, it immediately went viral, drawing copious amounts of unwanted attention to the airline.

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