United Doesn't Have a PR Problem. It Has a Culture Problem.
Wow. It didn't take long for that "leggings controversy" to be completely overshadowed.
By now you've seen the video of a paying passenger forcibly dragged off a United Airlines plane in Chicago because it overbooked, and no one bit on the offer to take a later flight. You've likely read the first non-apology apology by CEO Oscar Munoz, and then the subsequent "real" apology once almost $900 million was erased from United's market cap and the public outcry rose to deafening levels. And, like millions of others, you've come up with a dozen different things United employees could have done to prevent this PR nightmare, or different messages Mr. Munoz could have delivered in the wake of this incident.
And you suspect, just as I do, that the real culprit here has nothing to do with public relations. This is clearly a deep-rooted, historical issue with United's corporate culture.