United airlines – the not so friendly skies


In 2013 United re-launched their former slogan “Fly the friendly skies”.

Now on April 9, 2017 United overbooks yet another flight only this time it ends up dragging a passenger off because of it. Not so friendly.

Plenty of people have already heaped abuse on United Airlines, and rightly so, for their deplorable customer service on full demonstration when they actually dragged a passenger off a packed flight. Yes the scene that unfolded on that April 9th  flight was far beyond ridiculous on many levels, though that’s not what I want to focus on today. I want to look at what are going to be the repercussions of what took place.

The Upsetting Event

Their CEO comments that the situation was an ”upsetting event” and he further promised a “detailed review of what happened”. By now everyone on social media has seen a detailed review what happened on video.

What happened is United Airlines has a habit of bad customer service and a worse habit of mishandling the situation in a very public way. Like the United CEO sending and email  saying that employees had “followed established procedures” and that the passenger was “disruptive and belligerent”.

United has been working hard over the last year to rebuild its beaten up reputation and this will not help. Especially coming on the heels of another media blunder just two weeks ago when it would not let 2 girls on another flight because they were wearing leggings.

Most airlines, United included, tend to hide behind their procedures when they have to do something objectionable. In cases like this their own business practices are totally customer hostile.  Hiding behind rules is no excuse for doing what is right.

They have a history of handling customer service particularly badly. In 2009 United broke a musician’s guitar and failed to compensate him the $1,200 it cost. His revenge video “United breaks guitars” generated over 10 million views that year. That is a lot of negative views for the airline. That video is now over 16million views. I wonder how United will manage the reputation damage this time.

It also remains to be seen just how bad the situation is going to get. The guitar incident cost them a lot of business – well into the millions of dollars.

Let’s see what happens in the month of April and in Q2 2017.  I have grabbed their March operations numbers for number of passengers and I am going to keep an eye on April.

Someone needs to remind United that Customer service is only expensive when done wrong.

Oh wait I guess everyone on the Internet is now reminding them just how expensive bad customer service is.

Let’s see what this costs them.  I am guessing into the millions yet again.

Good luck United and good luck to their CEO.  Have fun cleaning up this mess.

Here’s hoping hyper loops get running soon.

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