Not that I find it fulfilling to pile more misery upon the friendly skies of United Airlines, but Twitterverse has made it impossible to stay mum. Tweeters nationwide claim their nasty jabs over “accommodate-gate” have been mysteriously deleted. How is that possible?
United Airlines has made a few wrong turns of late in the customer service department. Okay, maybe that’s an understatement. In addition to dragging a passenger off a flight screaming and kicking, United has come under fire for barring two young ladies, traveling by special pass (free), from boarding a flight because they wore leggings (understandable, as maybe leggings should be a privilege–not a right). Just when the fervor died down, United steered into the skid with the ‘re-accommodation’ of a passenger (a serious beat down, bloodied face, and a cage-fight worthy dragging down the aisle by an air cop) on a flight originating in Chicago and destined for Louisville. One would think they were self-sabotaging when an unapologetic apology from United’s CEO, Oscar Munoz, was released:
“This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers,” Munoz said. “Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened.”
“We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation,” he added.
Good luck, Oscar, in finding that guy–his lawyer will call your lawyer. Your legacy with United will go down as the insensitive jerk who came up with the euphemism of the year—re-accommodate.
Enter Jay Beecher, a United Kingdom Independent Party (UKIP) operative–undoubtedly, Beecher is prone to conclude conspiracies when questions remain unanswered. He had relentlessly lobbed Twitter grenades at United Airlines when, gasp, he noticed his posts disappearing from Twitterville. He soon sounded the alarm, and within nanoseconds, newsfeeds were flooded with Tweeters claiming that their brilliantly composed snarks had vanished, too. Hmmm. Something sounds fishy at thirty thousand feet.
Beecher hinted at Twitter taking a payoff from United, which is frankly laughable. Twitter is all about ‘getting back at the man’ and United is clearly the runner up for “man” of the week.
Twitter has deleted posts in the past, after deeming them too inflammable or offensive—it’s a practice known as ghost-deleting:
The term is a little misleading since such tweets are technically not deleted but merely prevented from appearing in users’ feeds. This measure, however, is usually reserved strictly for offensive tweets – and this is hardly the case here.
The question is: Why Beecher didn’t ask UKIP big wigs to call the Kremlin–they are more likely in cahoots with Munoz. Also, you can visualize the cahoot-ee, whereas Twitter is a juggernaut of anonymity at the top of the food chain.
The mystery is alive and well as Twitter folks compare notes and simultaneously squirt lighter fluid on the fires of conspiracy and collusion. Fortunately, for users of the one hundred forty characters or less platform, some of the United Airlines pokes are classic comedy.
Our digital world is ablaze with opinions, anecdotes, and one-upmanship in re-branding the beleaguered company. Suggested slogans have included, ‘Southwest, we beat the competition—not you,’ Flight or Fight—we will surprise you,’ and ‘United is proud to announce the new club class! Fight Club!’ complete with a doctored seating chart.
What is missing? ‘Fly the Friendly Skies of United’—that airship has sailed and gone down like the infamous Hindenburg.
United Airlines is an iconic American company, and it would be a shame to watch it fly off into the sunset over two regrettable public relations fiascos. Fire the CEO, Oscar Munoz and whoever else in charge of crisis communications. And do it yesterday. United, pull yourself together, acknowledge your own mistakes, and reverse this trend of reprehensible behavior before your employees and shareholders feel the pain of stock values “re-accommodated.”