On April 9th, airport police at Chicago O’Hare forcibly removed ticketed passenger David Dao from a United Express flight at the direction of United due to an overbooking situation. The incident was recorded on multiple smartphone devices and immediately went viral once it was posted to various social media platforms. The backlash was swift, and it only got worse after United Continental (UAL) CEO Oscar Munoz made comments about the passenger that were seen as unsympathetic.
Through our Bespoke Consumer Pulse unit, Bespoke has been able to quickly measure the impact that the incident is having on United’s reputation and bookings. We immediately began conducting a consumer survey (balanced to US census) following the video’s release, and below are three snapshots highlighting the survey’s results. Awareness of the incident approaches 90% at the $100k+ income level, and more than 50% of those making $100k+ in annual income said it will have a negative impact on their future flight bookings with United.
More than a quarter (26%) of consumers surveyed that had heard about the incident said they “definitely won’t book a flight with United in the future” as a result. That’s a big number!
So which airlines stand to benefit the most from United’s lost passengers? We’ll be sending Bespoke Consumer Pulse clients a report with the answer to that question. Click here to start a 30-day free trial if you’d like to see the report.