As many of you all know, on April 10, 2017, United Airlines had a huge altercation with one of the passengers on the plane. United overbooked the plane and did not have room left for staff members. They asked a few people to leave, however when no one else volunteered they decided to hand-pick at random someone to leave the plane. Dr. David Dao, was chosen. Dao refused and as a result was left with injuries from being physically handled by United’s Staff. The Public Relations for this incident with United was absolutely terrible. First, they made a statement that blamed the passenger rather than the staff member. Secondly, they didn’t see fit to make an apology to the victim until later on when they saw that stocks had dropped.
About a week and a half later, American Airlines had an incident also between a staff member and a passenger. A staff member allegedly hit a woman with a stroller, nearly hitting the baby she was holding. Not only that but another passenger tried to stick up for the woman, and the staff member got into altercation with him which involved yelling and harmful words shared. This was also a tragic story, but the PR for this incident was much better handled than that of United Airlines.
American Airlines immediately handled the situation. They not only apologized to the woman first-hand they also upgraded her to first class soon after the incident happened. Not only this, but they immediately put the United Airlines employee on suspension. American Airlines says, “What we see on this video does not reflect our values or how we care for our customers,” the airline said in a statement. “The actions of our team member captured here do not appear to reflect patience or empathy, two values necessary for customer care. In short, we are disappointed by these actions.” (AA, Statement)
On one hand, United Airlines blamed the passenger. However, American Airlines put the blame on themselves, and immediately did everything possible to try and reconcile the situation with the victim. This people, is great Public Relations!
By Goldene Brown, Junior Account Executive, Strickler Planetarium