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Social Media Fail – United Airlines

Social media mistakes are inevitable; learning from them is not. We’ll highlight some social media mistakes, blunders, slip-ups, flops. We hope it’s educational as well as amusing. At the end of the year, we’ll name the Greatest Social Media Fail of 2017! Stay tuned! Note: We restrict our selection to those pertaining to organizations or businesses.

United Airlines April 2017

The viral video of the United Airline passenger being dragged off a seat he purchased was bad enough. The situation got even uglier with the CEO’s response that started with: “This is an unsettling event to all of us at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers.” The social media mockery was swift and vicious. In the days that followed, the company issued more appropriate responses.

Lesson Learned

Apologists should be very careful about their word choices in highly emotional situations. “Re-accommodate” was an almost laughable word choice for anyone who saw the video. While the response was relatively timely, it suggests that the company needs to refine the Corrections element of their social media strategy (the final C of the #5CsofSocial).


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