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Ever since the United incident sparked outrage in the eyes of many travelers around the world — especially in China, an important market for the Chicago-based carrier — people have taken to social media to let their voices be heard. Among the many criticisms of United were how the carrier had handled the issue as a whole. As TPG himself pointed out, it wasn’t a traditional overbooking situation or a case where the passenger was denied boarding. It was flat out inhumane treatment.
To recap, on Sunday, April 9, United Flight 3411 from Chicago (ORD) to Louisville (SDF) was completely booked. However, after the boarding process had been completed, four crew members still needed to take a positioning flight to Louisville for flights on the following day. After originally offering passengers $400 + a hotel stay, the carrier bumped the offer up to $800 + a hotel stay as an incentive to get volunteers. When that didn’t work, United selected four passengers to be bumped. One of them refused to give up his seat, so airport security was called in and an agent caused the man to hit his head on an armrest before dragging him down the aisle and off the plane. While United has since issued an apology, many people like TPG still don’t think it’s enough to solve the airline’s problem.
Aside from the gruesome nature of the video and how United handled things, the people of the internet quickly stepped in to make light of the situation in the best — and most amusing — way they know how, by creating memes. In no way is this post intended to poke fun at the incident itself or play down the severity of what happened, but rather to find some humor in the way people have been reacting to it. Check out some of our favorites, below.
On Social Media
On the everyday social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, people were quick to voice their opinions:
We put the hospital in hospitality. #newunitedairlinesmottos
— David E (@DaSkrambledEgg) April 11, 2017
if twitter this past week was a person here he is pic.twitter.com/r9JM0tP7ee
— Chris Melberger (@chrismelberger) April 11, 2017
— Nick Nicotera (@NickNicotera) April 11, 2017
Wow now is not the time United pic.twitter.com/VzCoL30xZA
— Casey Newton (@CaseyNewton) April 10, 2017
Attendant on my Southwest flight tells passengers: “We’re going to need four passengers … just kidding.”
— Doug Haller (@DougHaller) April 11, 2017
— ZKN_BIGB (@ZKNman) April 11, 2017
— Alamo Drafthouse NYC (@AlamoNYC) April 10, 2017
— alvin foo (@alvinfoo) April 11, 2017
United Airlines is pleased to announce new seating on all domestic flights- in addition to United First and Economy Plus we introduce…. pic.twitter.com/KQjPClU2d2
— McNeil (@Reflog_18) April 10, 2017
— Linquel Isswell (@linquel) April 10, 2017
UNITED: Leggings are a breach of decorum.
ALSO UNITED: We will beat you and drag you from the plane if we want your seat for our employee.
— Jamison Foser (@jamisonfoser) April 10, 2017
— JT Genter (@JTGenter) April 11, 2017
— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) April 10, 2017
“We have Red Eye and Black Eye flights available!” #NewUnitedAirlinesMottos
— LAMusing (@LAMusing) April 11, 2017
Reviews on the United App
But the responses didn’t stop there. People ventured beyond the usual social media platforms and even bashed the carrier on its app via the Apple App Store:
On the Late Night and Daytime TV Circuit
Both Jimmy Kimmel and Ellen took to their respective shows to either blast the carrier or, of course, joke about it. Here’s Kimmel’s mock United ad (if you want to watch the rest of his bit, rewind the YouTube video):
And Ellen’s commentary on the issue:
Reactions by United’s Competitors
Some of United’s competitors also chose to capitalize on the situation:
Fly the friendly skies with a real airline. pic.twitter.com/wE5C5n6Lvn
— Emirates airline (@emirates) April 11, 2017
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
— Royal Jordanian (@RoyalJordanian) April 10, 2017
— Ryanair (@Ryanair) April 12, 2017
— Turkish Airlines (@TurkishAirlines) April 11, 2017
While the United incident was surely nothing to laugh about, some of the responses to it were amazing. United still has a long way to go to work on fixing its reputation — and review how it handled the situation — to prevent anything like this from happening in the future. It’s been a crazy week for the carrier, and CEO Oscar Munoz’ most recent apology is a step toward winning back the business of many travelers. At least we can count on the people of the internet to bring us a few laughs in the meantime.
What have been your favorite reactions? Share them with us, below.
Featured image courtesy of Scott Olson via Getty Images.
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