Tuesday, April 11, 2017

United Debacle Goes International

Unidentified Passenger (Twitter)
A public relations disaster for United Airlines is transforming into an international incident in one of its most important markets.

Video of a passenger being dragged off a Chicago-Louisville flight, bloodying his nose and leaving him dazed in the process, has gone viral online in China, attracting tens of thousands of outraged posts.

The man, who has not yet been identified, was overheard saying he was being profiled for being Chinese, a passenger told CNN, before police officers forcibly removed him from his seat on the overbooked flight.

The incident, which unfolded on Sunday, was the number one trending topic Tuesday on Weibo, China's answer to Twitter, attracting more than 100 million views.

Many called for a boycott of United, accusing the airline of discriminating against the passenger because he is Chinese.

China is the second largest aviation market in the world and a key focus for United, which claims it "operates more nonstop US-China flights, and to more cities in China, than any other airline."
Representatives for United in China did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ed Zitron, a PR expert and author of "This Is How You Pitch," said United's response to the incident "was a classic case of a company too afraid to make a categorical statement of compassion for fear of a lawsuit."

"Had United shown compassion and intent to make things right, they could have come out of this at the very least looking like an airline that cares. Instead they've just made it even worse," he said.

As of Tuesday morning ET, #NewUnitedAirlinesMottos was the number one trending topic on Twitter in the US, and the third trending topic worldwide, with commenters suggesting new slogans such as "not enough seating, prepare for a beating."

No comments:

Post a Comment