United offers a primer in how NOT to handle a crisis

A lack of timeliness, focusing on its own staff instead of consumers and using corporate-speak made the mea culpa come across as uncaring, says one PR pro.

The airline’s overbooking, along with its forced removal of a passenger, caused news media outlets and social media users to rage against United, with many calling for a boycott.

The incident and backlash have spread outside the United States: Social media users in China are criticizing the airline, and many have said they will refuse to fly with the carrier.

Asking for volunteers to give up an overbooked flight is commonplace, but this tweet by Merriam-Webster underlines many consumers’ ire with United:

📈’Volunteer’ means “someone who does something without being forced to do it.” https://t.co/qNAcMyplhZ

— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) April 11, 2017

On Monday, United’s chief executive, Oscar Munoz, issued the following statement:

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.