By Cesar Valdes Blog 2/2
On April 9, one of the worst non-plane emergencies took place aboard a United Airlines flight. With the click of a randomized computer test, Dr. David Dao was the unfortunate, paying-customer to be asked to leave a flight that United Airlines themselves overbooked.
However, when Dao refused to give up his seat, what resulted was a major public relations crisis for United Airlines.
As everyone has probably seen multiple times, Dao was forcefully dragged off his flight.
From the moment the video recording of the incident was released, it was clear that United Airlines was in a dire situation and Dao may be in line to receive some big bucks.
Indeed, Dao and United Airlines agreed on an undisclosed settlement, but the effects this incident had not only on airline policies across the country and their perception have become clear.
On April 27th, United Airlines raised its limit on payments to customers who would voluntarily give up their seats in case of another overbooking. United will now offer up to $10,000 to a passenger for their seat.
It’s a smart move for United to do. It shows their customers and the public that they are actively revising their policies to prevent another similar incident from occurring, but it will take more than that to move on from this blunder.
Speaking of prevention, Southwest Airlines – the favorite airline in the United States according to Airfarewatchdog.com – decided to stop the practice of overbooking flights, which was how United’s incident occurred. Now that’s a PR/marketing team working to avoid future problems.
Although United did drop in the stock market, as of today, the airline company does not rank as the least favorite airline in the U.S. according to Airfarewatch.org. In fact, United ranks ahead of Virgin America, Frontier, and Spirit. But then again, that doesn’t really say a whole lot of good about them either.