Park University Marketing United Airlines Flight 3411 Case Analysis

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United Airlines Flight 3411

Review the case below and respond to the case questions.

On 9 April 2017, Dr. David Dao was flying from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky. This is a short flight lasting under one and a half hours. All passengers were on the airplane, waiting for the doors to shut when the cabin crew said the flight was overbooked and volunteers were needed to provide seats. The seats were not needed for other paying passengers, but for some airline staff who wanted to get to Louisville. There are five flights on this route on most days, but the staff could not wait. Passengers were said to be offered $800 in United Airlines vouchers, if they would take the next flight. There were no volunteers, therefore, at random, the cabin crew selected four passengers, one of whom was Dr. David Dao. He said he could not take the next flight as he had patients waiting to see him. The cabin crew were not happy about this, so requested Chicago Aviation Security to remove the passenger. In the meantime, other passengers, many of whom became citizen journalists, started filming the incident. The videos showed Dr. Dao being forcibly dragged out of his seat and down the aisle. The videos were uploaded to several social media channels.

The link is the timeline of how United Airlines managed responses to the video. Click the plus signs below to learn more about the events of that date.

Case Questions

  1. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the approach taken by the CEO.
  2. How could you prepare for such a disastrous event?
  3. What actions would you take as the event unfolded and negative online comments started?
  4. Work in groups of three to five to explore what options could have been taken and make recommendations. 

Explanation & Answer:
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Marketing-Case Study of United Airlines Plane 3411

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Marketing-Case Study of United Airlines Plane 3411
The Strengths and Weaknesses of the Approach Taken by the CEO
According to the case study, United Airlines Aircraft 3411, flying from Chicago to
Louisville, was double-booked, and volunteers needed to provide seats for some of the airline
staff who needed to get to Louisville. Since there were no volunteers, the Cabin crew randomly
selected four passengers. One of the four passengers, Dr. Rao, refused to take the next flight,
leading to the team informing Chicago aviation security to forcefully remove the passenger from
the plane. The approach taken by the CEO had both strengths and weaknesses. One of the main
weaknesses of the system carried by the CEO was that in the event of dragging out the
passenger, he failed to realize the aftermath of the action. From the letter that the CEO had
penned down to the united employees, it is evident that he had not recognized they were facing a
crisis when he stated that the customer defied the Chicago Security Officer. The situation was
compounded when the passenger asked to deplane and politely refused (Ma, Tse, Wang &
Zhang, 2019). The CEO defended his action when he termed the customer ‘disruptive.’
In addition, the CEO did not seem to know the impact that the incident could have on
them and also the brand image. He did not acknowledge his mistake or take responsibility after
the incident occurred until concerns of the victim of the incident began arising. If the
management had been prepared to handle a crisis in case it happened, the situation could not
have gotten that far. The right approach would be taken without affecting customer service (Ma
et al., 2019). Ideally, such an incident could damage a business’s revenue streams in any other
industry. Despite the mistakes made out of ignorance which led to down moments for the airline,
the CEO issued another statement where he accepted the...

Really useful study material!


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