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February 23, 2024
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An incident resulting from a bumped passenger being physically and violently taken off an airplane has gone viral. The flight needed space for four employees, exacerbating the impact of overbooking. You can watch the video here.

There has been a lot of criticism of United and its CEO Oscar Munoz as a result.  United’s statement and a recap of the incident is summarized here.

The Bottom Line

The repercussions of this video going viral and with the video shown on international news media, it will likely cost United dearly in image and lost revenue. We’ve even seen reports that some Star Alliance partners are concerned because their passenger may have United flights and are understandably balking after viewing this incident.  Unfortunately, United doesn’t get a “do-over.”

•  This is another black eye for United, only two weeks after the “leggings” incident

•  The airline has a habit of shooting itself in the foot, as this situation could have easily been avoided

• With two negative viral incidents in recent weeks, UAL clearly needs to up its social media image.

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4 thoughts on “The United Overbooking Incident

  1. Just checking the details, its was operated by Republic using EMB-170. Was their last flight for the day on this route. American/ Envoy Air was a bit later
    This what happens when you have a contractor operating in your name, they dont care

  2. I’m very sorry, but United doesn’t need to “up its social media image”.

    First, the CEO has to take responsibility and go.

    Second, his successor has to make sure that corporate corporeal punishment is an in extremis decision with clear lines of responsibility involving senior people with common sense and intact humanity.

    Gross and disgusting doesn’t even begin to describe this company’s predation.

  3. This incident will probably end-up costing United / Republic hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more, in penalties, settlement and lawyers fees.
    A flight from ORD to SDF in about 60 minutes. A small private jet can be rented for 3000$/hr, and it takes only a few minutes to find one, especially in a large city such as Chicago. Let’s say they could have rented a private plane @ 4000$/hr. Back and forth between ORD and SDF, we’re talking 8000$. Let’s round it up to 10,000$.
    So it would have cost United / Republic around 10,000$ (probably less) to fly the 4 employees to SDF on a private plane. That represents a tiny fraction of what they will end-up paying at the end. Poor management all the way…

  4. This just reinforces my decision to avoid United whenever possible.
    I am not really sure I understand why we are calling this overbooking. I assume the man removed had a ticket and by rights was entitled to his seat.
    If United needed seats for staff that they failed to book, not the passengers fault.
    No paying customer should be put through this kind of treatment.

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