Is United Airlines on a PR disaster overdrive?
Barely a couple of weeks after it sparked global outrage online by barring two girls from flying because they wore leggings, the American airline outdid itself on Sunday, when it forcibly dragged out a passenger, who was holding a fully-paid ticket to fly, and offloaded him – because it had overbooked its flight and needed 4 passengers to be offloaded to accommodate its own staff.
Shocked fellow passengers posted videos of the incident online, showing the flier, David Dao, a medical doctor, bleeding from his mouth as he was dragged away from flight 3411 between Chicago and Kentucky.
Chief Executive Officer of United Airlines Oscar Munoz has issued a statement on the matter, describing the event as “upsetting” to all at the company.
The Chicago Department of Aviation said in a statement that one of the officers did not follow protocol and added that he had been placed on leave pending a review for actions not condoned by the department.
The US Department of Transportation said it was reviewing whether United complied with overbook rules that require airlines to set guidelines on how passengers are denied boarding if they do not volunteer to give up their seats.
All this only fuelled the outrage further, and memes ridiculing United quickly went viral.
Here’s a selection.