US carrier United Airlines is in the global doghouse this week after forcibly removing a paying passenger from an overbooked flight.
The company incurred the wrath of the internet after footage of an older man being dragged off a United plane, bleeding, went viral.
In addition to scorn and ridicule from passengers, United has also been getting trolled by other carriers.
Though it was a few days late, even Qatar Airways got in on the action.
Yesterday, it tweeted that its app “doesn’t support drag and drop.”
We’re united in our goal to always accommodate our passengers, even with our app updates. pic.twitter.com/1K3q76qOp6
— Qatar Airways (@qatarairways) April 12, 2017
The national carrier also teased an upcoming “big” announcement, but offered no further details.
Qatar Airways wasn’t the only airline to make fun of United this week.
Emirates for example took aim at United’s CEO in this tweet. It refers an ongoing effort by American carriers to curb their Gulf competitors’ expansion into the US market.
Other Middle East carriers — many of whom have been hit by a recent electronics ban on passengers flying to the US — also tweeted about the incident:
— Royal Jordanian (@RoyalJordanian) April 10, 2017
Meanwhile, Turkish Airlines retweeted a message from Huffington Post founder Ariana Huffington. She thanked the airline for recently helping a passenger deliver a baby onboard their aircraft:
Instead of involuntarily removing a passenger, Turkish Air assists in involuntary adding one: https://t.co/ftubp9rZuX
— Arianna Huffington (@ariannahuff) April 10, 2017
Ridicule aside, United lost millions of dollars in the stock market after global outrage erupted over what happened.
After two days of criticism, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz pledged yesterday to scrap the carrier’s policy of using police to remove paid passengers from overbooked flights.
Saying “it’s never too late to do the right thing,” he also released this statement:
— United Airlines (@united) April 11, 2017
However, some branding experts said it’s going to take a long time for United to earn back customers.
Speaking to USA Today this week, marketing consultant Steve Arsenault, a former United employee, explained:
“In this case, the customer certainly doesn’t feel valued. The result is an immediate loss of consumer trust and loyalty, as we’re seeing all over social media.
The problem for United is that loyalty is a long game, and now they are tasked with earning back their customers’ trust. And it won’t happen overnight.”