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Airline’s Policy Impact on Its Reputation Among Customers

This paper discusses the impact of United Airlines’ policy on its reputation among customers. There is a need to change the standards of interaction with the company’s clients since the regularly occurring removal of passengers from the airplane, and refusals in flight due to the non-compliance of passengers with the dress code are no longer ethically acceptable. The analyzed incident with a man who was brutally taken out of the plane in connection with the need to put the company’s employees on board demonstrates the complete lack of customer focus of United Airlines. Thus, the company’s customers are no longer its top priority, which is unacceptable in today’s reality. Customers should be expected to start choosing alternative airlines so as not to worry that, for example, their ticket will be postponed to a later date without the possibility of refusal. The company needs to decide whose interests are more important to it and change the strategy for service decision-making.

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In the modern world, it is vital for clients what policy their chosen company adheres to in their daily decisions. As for airlines, concerns can be caused by frequent flight delays and scandals with insufficiently safe planes. These reasons for concern are more of a technical nature. However, people interested in the company’s financial results should also bear in mind that the company’s poorly conducted policies can destroy customers’ trust. Customers can no longer put up with constant flight cancellations and the rudeness of United Airlines’ employees.

This essay is planned to discuss the right of customers to refuse to reschedule flights at a later time. This paper also raises the question of how stakeholders reacted to the incident with the brutal removal of a passenger, who was also a doctor (Yilek, 2017). The essay explains how stakeholders indirectly determine the airline’s decisions and how this subsequently affects customers’ trust. Thus, the main topics are the strategies chosen by the airline, customer service expectations, the role of stakeholders in the business, and strategies to overcome the crisis of trust.

The company must guarantee the client the right to cancel the ticket with a postponed date. As described in the Washington Examiner, for example, a client may have unavoidable plans such as treating sick patients (Yilek, 2017); these plans cannot simply be postponed. Airlines require respect for the internal rules established in their organizations. It is prohibited to be late for one’s flight; no one is allowed to carry flammable liquids, toxic substances, and other goods on board. Therefore, companies should show mutual respect to their customers. The need to transport four employees to another airport cannot be an excuse to kick passengers out or randomly reschedule their travel dates.

United Airlines shareholders appear to be less concerned about the long-term impact of passengers being violently dragged off the plane. As long as the share price continues to rise, shareholders stay satisfied. The major individual shareholders of United Airlines include Oscar Munoz, J. Scott Kirby, and Brett J. Hart. The institutional shareholders are Vanguard Group Inc., PRIMECAP Management Co., and BlackRock Inc. Stakeholders are primarily concerned with the financial components of the business and not with the growing crisis of trust between the company and its customers.

Moreover, the recent increase in United Airlines’ earnings does not please low-wage workers at all. United Airlines does not contract them, but a company that has a contract with the airline does. Some workers defended their cases at the shareholders’ meeting, urging executives to pressure the contractor to pay more. However, if they were even considered, employees’ pleas and customers’ complaints still did not become the fundamental problems requiring implementing the anti-crisis management strategy. Since individual stakeholders are less likely to risk their reputation than corporations are, United Airlines enlisted their support when this incident happened.

One should take into account that ignoring the ethical aspects of the company’s financial activities can lead to a boycott of the airline as unreliable. In the situation with the dragged-off plane man, the company representatives apologized and promised to contact the removed customer (Yilek, 2017). However, what is needed is not a subsequent apology but an initial avoidance of such situations. Both employees and customers must be provided with adequate conditions; otherwise, layoffs and refusals of the company’s services cannot be avoided.

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Each stakeholder wants to maximize current profits, and therefore several strategies are used to achieve this goal. In particular, airlines overbook to ensure that even if there are no-shows or cancellations, any flight will have as many seats as possible. From the stakeholders’ point of view, such a strategy makes sense because the more tickets are sold, the more they will get. However, the overbooking does not justify the cruel removal of the man, much less mutilating him (Yilek, 2017). The incident demonstrated the importance of taking into account the interests of not only shareholders and direct owners but also customers because the revenue ultimately depends on how satisfied they are with the services provided.

This week’s course has made it possible to take a different look at airline policies. During the analysis, it was possible to determine how stakeholders influence critical business and customer services decisions. It was again emphasized that in the modern world, people are increasingly beginning to pay attention not only to, for example, the cost of a ticket and the comfort of the airplane seats. It is also crucial to them how the company’s employees resolve controversial issues and treat their clients.

Thus, to operate successfully in the market, airlines need to prioritize customer needs. It is necessary to find a balance between the interests of stakeholders and the interests of clients; otherwise, a conflict cannot be avoided. The incident is an example of how easy it is to undermine the trust of those who use the services of an airline company. This situation cannot ever be allowed to happen, and therefore the introduction of new management strategies is required.


Yilek Caitlin. (2017). Video shows man dragged from United flight had bloodied face. Washington Examiner. Web.

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