United Airlines Crisis Management 

United Airlines is the world’s leading American airline and it provides domestic and international air travel services to the customers. A video went viral on social media highlighting the heated exchange of arguments between a passenger and the cabin crew staff. It attracted a lot of negative media attention and bad publicity for the company. Today, we’ll discuss United Airlines crisis management; crisis event, strategic approach; communication strategy, and lessons learned from the United Airlines crisis communication strategy. 

Crisis Event of Viral Video 

A video went viral on social media; when the security of United Airlines forcefully removed a 69-year-old passenger Dr. David Dao from its paid seat and dragged him out of the airplane. The crisis incident ignited a massive public outrage on the company and criticism of United Airlines for its actions. 

However, another Audra Bridges recorded the whole incident video on her phone and shared it later on Facebook; it quickly attracted the attention of people, and they started sharing it and it went viral. 

Response of United Airlines

After the incident; United Airlines issued a series of public statements and press conferences and apologized to the victim passenger, other passengers onboard, and the people who had watched the incident video. The airline showed its deepest regrets about the incident and how they have managed the situation. They acknowledged the fact that it was their failure to provide the necessary customer service that they deserved; they would review their policies.

Factors Escalating the Crisis 

Some of the main factors that have escalated the whole incident in the United Airlines crisis management are as follows; 

  • Social Media & Viral Video: the violent and shocking behavior of the Airlines’ staff was disturbing and it immediately went viral on social media. The comments, reviews, and sharing on social media further aggravated the situation; it multiplied the video’s reach. 
  • Public Outrage: The forceful removal of a paying passenger and dragging him out of the aircraft with violence is against ethical norms and customer service standards; it outraged the public and they want its public scrutiny. 
  • Media Coverage: many media outlets, journalists, and news channels started reporting the story; and interviewing company officials about the incident; it kept the story alive in the media’s eye
  • Previous Incidents: mistreatment of airline staff by another passenger also came up on the surface; the previous incidents raised a serious question about the airline’s customer service and fueled the current crisis 

Strategic Approach of United Airlines Crisis Management 

Let’s discuss the strategic approach of the airlines in the United Airlines crisis management; they’re as follows; 

Apologizing & Taking Responsibility 

United Airlines timely acknowledged the severity of the situation issued a public statement and apologized to the customers. The aviation company expressed its deepest regrets and remorse for the incident and accepted its failure to provide top-quality customer service. 

Reviewing Policy & Investigation 

United Airlines promised to review its policies and methods of treating customers and passengers. The airline recognized its mistake and acknowledged the fact that it needed improvement to avoid the occurrence of such incidents in the future. 

Customer Service Training Programs 

In order to provide better customer service to the passengers; United Airlines launched training programs for its employees to improve their skills and how they treat customers. The training program focused on managing the crisis, communicating with passengers, and resolving the conflict amicably with the objective of improving the overall customer experience. 

Engaging with Stakeholders 

United Airlines proactively connected and engaged with employees, customers, passengers, and other stakeholders to gather their feedback relevant to the incident. The objective was to rebuild the trust and confidence of customers, promote transparency, and show its commitment to learning. 

Crisis Communication Strategy of United Airlines

Let’s discuss the United Airlines crisis communication strategy, it is as follows; 

  • United Airlines issued a public apology and showed its commitment to transparency 
  • Proactively engaging with customers and employing multiple media channels 
  • Directly communicating with customers and the public and receiving their feedback to rebuild trust and confidence
  • Revising the policies to ensure the fair treatment of paying passengers

Lessons Learned from United Airlines Crisis Management 

Some of the main lessons learned from the United Airlines crisis communication strategy are as follows; 

  • Giving top priority to customer service and improving the overall passenger in-flight experience 
  • Immediately responding to the crisis event with empathy and taking responsibility 
  • Open, clear, and transparent communication with the public and providing regular updates with the right information 
  • Reviewing and reforming the company’s policies and learning from mistakes to keep up with customer expectations and industry standards 
  • Connecting and engaging with customers and gathering their feedback to build trust and confidence
  • Learning from mistakes and implementing best practices of the industry

Conclusion: United Airlines Crisis Communication |Strategic Crisis Management Case Study of United Airlines

After an in-depth study of the United Airlines crisis management; we have realized that United Airlines is the world’s leading airline. If you are learning about United Airlines crisis communication strategy; then you should keep in mind the abovementioned crisis event; strategic approach, communication strategy, and lessons learned from the crisis incident. 

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