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.

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Many crisis communicators are dishing about the handling (mishandling) of the recent United Airlines Flight 3411.

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

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