OMG! If you were ever going to want your crisis team to be “on it”… it would be in a case like this. And of course, you already know, United apologized on Tuesday and said it would review its policies. Really…after videos showed a passenger being forcibly removed from a full plane to make room for its own employees, setting off public outrage. I understand the need to reposition staff but really?!?!?!
Oscar Munoz, the company’s chief executive, said in a written statement that United would take “full responsibility” for the situation and that “no one should ever be mistreated this way.” He committed to making changes to ensure that the situation would not repeat itself, adding that United would conduct “a thorough review of crew movement, our policies for incentivizing volunteers in these situations, how we handle oversold situations and an examination of how we partner with airport authorities and local law enforcement.
That’s it? Really?
The market had a lot to say today…. Shares in United Continental Holdings Inc. on Tuesday came off their worst levels, but ended off 1.1% as the airline continued to draw flak for having a passenger forcibly dragged off a plane Sunday. United UAL, -1.13% wiped about $255 million off its market capitalization. Ouch, that is a big price.
Early Tuesday ahead of the market’s open, United shares had been down by as much as 6% in premarket trading, but shares pared their sharper losses late-Tuesday.
The court of public opinion has been off the charts and will impact the company’s brand for years to come. Twitter and Facebook posts are in amazing numbers. Imagine the legal costs and the long-term cost of lost business. We’re just heading into peak summer travel. How many lost customers would you guess? Read some of the tweets posted to the CEO’s statement….ouch!Market Watch has a great response to Oscar Munoz lame apology and I call it to your attention.
Lastly, this is a great exercise demonstrating the power of social media. I strongly suggest you take this firestorm and learn from it. Today would be good!