For United, the Video Mess Just Keeps Getting Worse

Airline's market value falls as CEO offers 'deepest apologies'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2017 1:55 PM CDT
Updated Apr 11, 2017 2:44 PM CDT
United Mess Is Costing the Airline a Ton of Money
This image made from a video provided by Audra D. Bridges shows a passenger who was removed from a United Airlines flight in Chicago.   (Audra D. Bridges via AP)

The fallout from the video of a United passenger being removed from a plane isn't just a PR mess for the company, it's a financial one as well. Investors didn't seem fazed by the story on Monday, but that changed Tuesday, with the company's market value down about $255 million from $22.5 billion at the close of trading, reports MarketWatch. (Things had been much worse earlier in the day.) A look at related coverage:

  • United CEO Oscar Munoz offered his "deepest apologies" Tuesday for the "truly horrific incident," adding that "no one should ever be mistreated this way." (That's a shift from his comments in a company memo.) He also promised a review of company policies. Read his statement here.
  • Earlier, the airline clarified that the flight was sold out, but it wasn't overbooked, reports USA Today. The crunch occurred when the airline had to make room for four United employees who needed to get to Louisville for future flights, and no passengers voluntarily agreed to give up their seats.
  • The passenger involved is 69-year-old Kentucky doctor David Dao, who came to the US from Vietnam. He has made no public statement, but the spotlight has still found him. The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that he surrendered his medical license in 2005 after being convicted on "multiple felony counts of obtaining drugs by fraud or deceit" and was cleared to resume practicing in 2015. The newspaper (not the only outlet reporting on Dao's legal trouble) faced an online backlash for the reporting, notes Business Insider. A post at Think Progress is particularly critical.
  • Munoz might be done, writes the head of a PR firm at CNBC. Among the company's "three strikes" laid out by Mark Macias is its "tone-deaf" language in the immediate wake of the incident. (The post was written before Tuesday's apology.)
  • But an opinion piece at Fox News says the anger at United is misdirected—it was a security officer from Chicago Aviation Department, not a United employee, who got physical.

  • So how can United force passengers off a plane? "You agree to it when you book your tickets," explains CNN. Though it wasn't the case with this flight, airlines routinely overbook to account for no-shows. While it generally works out, 46,000 passengers were involuntarily booted from flights in 2015.
  • Town & Country has more on passengers' rights, which can be a gray area even for experts. But one thing is clear: Anyone who gets bumped is entitled to compensation as mandated by the FAA. (This woman made $11,000 in one weekend.)
  • Which airline is worst at overbooking? Delta, reports Time. It's followed by, yes, United. The best of the bunch is JetBlue.
  • The hashtag #NewUnitedAirlinesMottos is roasting the airline. One Twitter user has a suggested motto for rival Southwest: "We beat the competition. Not you."
  • Bill O'Reilly was catching flak for chuckling at the incident on his show, notes Entertainment Weekly.
(More United Airlines stories.)

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