Nothing says “bad corporate behavior” quite like United Airlines’ handling of the infamous overbooking incident, where a passenger was dragged, bleeding, out of an aircraft by two police officers. And it seems that United just can’t keep out of the headlines, as they are now accused of mishandling a giant rabbit and allegedly contributing to its death. They also sent a woman, who intended to fly to Paris, 3,000 miles in the wrong direction to San Francisco, and refused to allow three female passengers on a plane simply because they were wearing leggings.
If you’re as outraged about these incidents as we are, you may have already added your voice to the storm of angry Twitter responders who were quick to react to these events. But for a more effective campaign, a .SUCKS domain like FlyingUnitedAirlines.Sucks might be just the tool to help you tell United that their handling of these issues is simply unacceptable.
In case you (somehow) missed it
United Airlines has been in the hot-seat for a little while now. When David Dao, a 69 year old doctor, was forcibly removed from a United flight, a video of him being violently dragged down the aisle went viral. Thanks to the lightning-quick nature of the internet, the story—and the public outrage accompanying it—spread like wildfire. After the incident, rather than take responsibility for the gross mismanagement of the situation, CEO Oscar Munoz offered a lacklustre and, quite frankly, insulting statement. The Twitterverse was quick to criticize his description of the violent incident as a “re-accommodation” of the passenger, and his false characterization of Dao as disruptive or belligerent. After drawing widespread criticism and facing falling stock prices, Munoz revised his statement and apologized for the incident. United Airlines eventually offered a settlement of an undisclosed value to Dao—but in our books, this is too little, too late.
It’s tough for companies to respond eloquently and adequately to an unexpected crisis, but it seems like United Airlines isn’t even interested in trying. The company and CEO came off as indifferent and stubborn, which is not a good look after a PR nightmare like this one. Whatever happened to the old “customer is always right” adage? Or, at the very least, “the customer deserves basic human decency and respect”?
The PR nightmare continues
Upon realizing that a giant rabbit (“Simon”) had died en-route, it is alleged that United immediately disposed of the body without the consent or knowledge of the owner. This looks bad whether the airline was to blame or not. Without a body, the cause of death can’t be confirmed, allowing United Airlines to shirk the blame (at least, temporarily). The owner noted that Simon had recently been to the vet and was given a clean bill of health. It’s suspected that the giant rabbit died once he landed in Chicago after being placed in a freezer for 16 hours.
Whether or not this was a genuine accident or absolute carelessness, the proper reaction is not to destroy the remains of someone’s beloved (and potentially award-winning) pet. United Airlines takes the cake once again for horrendous behavior post-incident, making them a sort of double-candidate for the Bad Corporate Behavior Award thanks to the initial fumble paired with a wretched response to valid criticism.
A lot of people seem to be jumping on the “We hate United Airlines” bandwagon, which can be seen in their plummeting stock prices and the general disdain they’ve received on Twitter. If you want to add your voice to the mix, grab a custom .SUCKS domain name and join the conversation.
Photos: Shutterstock / Jorg Hackemann, Shutterstock / Sorbis, Shutterstock / hacksss