United’s Giving a Full Refund to All Passengers on Board Flight 3411
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United Airlines has been the center of attention this week — and not in the way it’d like. Following “the bump heard ’round the world” (a.k.a. #BumpGate), the airline has been reeling from a firestorm of negative press. After it made a lousy attempt at explaining itself, the airline came to its senses and issued a more sincere mea culpa. This morning, CEO Oscar Munoz was interviewed on ABC where he personally apologized for the incident which left passenger David Dao bloody and in the hospital.
Now, it looks like the airline’s PR machine is operating at full-steam — United said today that it’s going to be refunding the full cost of the flight for each passenger that was on flight 3411 on Sunday between Chicago (ORD) and Louisville (SDF). Clearly, this is the right call for the airline to make. The whole incident was likely traumatic to most, if not all, passengers that were on the flight. It appears that United finally realizes the gravity of the situation that it’s in and is now taking steps to rectify the situation with flyers as well as the general public all over the world.
This move is certainly a step in the right direction, though it’s not unprecedented. In one of the most (in)famous aviation incidents in recent history, US Airways flight 1549 crashed into the Hudson River in New York. Everyone survived the ‘Miracle on the Hudson’, but the now-defunct airline initially provided a full refund of the ticket price as well as $5,000 to every passenger to help compensate for items that were damaged or destroyed in the water landing.
More recently, a power outage knocked out Delta’s computer systems in Atlanta (ATL), which had major ripple effects in the whole network and caused the airline to cancel about 1,000 flights over a two-day period. Delta offered $200 in vouchers to every passenger whose flight was delayed 3 or more hours.
A few years ago, JetBlue offered discounts all the way up to a free round-trip ticket to passengers on board a specific flight after a baby cried on board. It was clearly a PR stunt, but a great way to signal that the airline was indeed in touch with humanity. Also, when the Zika Virus outbreak was at its peak, airlines offered refunds for passengers traveling to the affected areas.
Is United doing enough to make the situation right?
H/T: NY Post
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