United Airlines suffers declining stock after social media skewering

CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 19: A United Airlines jet taxis at O’Hare International Airport on September 19, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. In 2013, 67 million passengers passed through O’Hare, another 20 million passed through Chicago’s Midway Airport, and the two airports combined moved more than 1.4 million tons of air cargo. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

On Sunday, a man was forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight bound from Chicago to Louisville. When a video of the incident inevitably hit social media, reaction was swift.

Viewers who saw the screeching man being dragged down the aisle on his back by a law enforcement official — and later his bloodied face — heaped criticism on United.

RELATED: United passenger dragged from flight raises questions on airline bumping

By Tuesday, it was clear, United had joined the ejected passenger as one of the battered and bruised.

The carrier’s stock is dropping — hovering between a decline of 3.7% and 4.0% — as of Tuesday afternoon which, according to MarketWatch, could put an $830 million dollar dent in market capitalization if the action continues in the same direction by close of business.

The social media skewering of United is clearly having an impact on investors who think business could suffer as a result of the incident.

On Twitter, the trending #NewUnitedAirlinesMottos showed just how far the public feels the airline has sunk:

Businesses, even major corporations like United, are still learning how to respond to social media attacks and public relations experts were quick to suggest that United had the wrong response.

On Monday, Oscar Munoz, CEO of United, apologized on Twitter for having to “re-accomodate” customers. But his words only seem to have increased vitriol from the public.

Sean Standberry, co-founder of Atlanta-based Lyfe Marketing said his company offers businesses a three-step approach to recovering from social media fallout: sincerity, transparency and consistency.

“I think the best thing to do is confront the problem at hand,” he said in a previous interview with the AJC.  “It takes time,” he said, “but more than anything you want to show you are moving forward and…showing who you really are.”

Reader Comments 0


Smart people, don't be too quick to judge and criticize.  There is more to this story than first reported, so let the facts be known, then reviewed, then form opinions and comments.

Soybean Bob
Soybean Bob

all things being equal... the stock dip will recover quickly once the story is replaced by the next social media upset... watch n' see... the good doctor violated his agreement with the airline (carriage contract) and was dutifully removed... what a non-story... the airline rightfully declared him a non-passenger and he belligerently reneged on his contract


AJC "journalists" who are boasting about being recognized for that  interminably long series on physician abuse must have missed this doctor "victim" in their report.