Tuesday, April 11, 2017

How United Screwed The Pooch

In the event you have been off the planet or in a DMT-stupor for the last 24 hours, this is what happened on a United Airlines flight as it was about to leave from Chicago to Louisville day before yesterday:  https://youtu.be/STJQnu72Nec

Most reasonable, and even most unreasonable, people will agree that beating a paying passenger like a red-headed stupmule and dragging him down the aisle like a rag mop as an example for others who might actually believe their boarding pass means they are entitled to a seat, is bad business.

Indeed.  United Airlines lost almost a billion dollars (with a "b") in market capitalization today as shareholders dumped the stock like a well-used baby diaper.

What went wrong?

Everything, including their violation of these handy tips when preparing for a crisis:

Rule 1:  Prepare.  If your "plan" involves bringing in jack-booted thugs to deal with your paying customers, as opposed to paying whatever it takes to get otherwise decent people to exit the aircraft is, well, stupid, or at least ignorant, probably both.

Rule 2:  Don't rest your fate in the hands of people you can't control.  In this case, that means the infamous Chicago Police Department who has a long history of deferring to violence as a first resort. If you want to see what jack-booted thugs are going to do in any given situation, look at what they did the last time in any given situation.

Rule 3:  Customers first.  Always.  Did United really believe putting 4 of their own non-revenue employees into seats they already sold by ejecting the people who paid for them would fly in the court of public opinion?  How can I put this gently?  Those employees are "the help."  They should get on last, they should then shut up, and they should never take a paying passenger's seat.

Rule 4:  Don't issue seat of the pants press releases.  The CEO's press release in which he concluded that it might have been handled better is the understatement of the year.  It sounded disingenuous because it was.  Refer to Rule 1.  He didn't.  He should lose his job.

Rule 5:  Fall on the sword.  When United figured out they had screwed the pooch, the CEO should have taken out his sword and leapt on it, vowing to never allow such a thing to happen again, and publicly firing those responsible.  He should have known that the General Public, all having been abused more than once at the hand of tensile-haired flight attendants, would want blood.  He should have joined in the whooping, stomping, killing frenzy, rather than trying to defend the indefensible.

These rules, by the way, are applicable to employers who may not be, but should be, prepared for the potential consequences of the actions of their employees.

That means you.


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