A tale of two apologies: Southwest vs. United

by | Oct 18, 2017 | Public Relations

Earlier this month, Southwest Airlines was embroiled in an incident that was uncannily similar to the United Airlines incident just a few months ago in April. And yet, the public reaction could not be any more different. In both instances, a passenger was forcibly and aggressively removed from a flight by security officers in full view of other passengers.

While the security officers’ treatment of Dr. David Dao was significantly more violent than that of Dr. Anila Daulatzai, it does not fully explain why the public’s reaction to United was fast and furious while the reaction to Southwest was more tempered and almost blasé.

What an organization says and does in the first hours of a crisis can make all the difference. Southwest defused the situation while United fumbled and added fuel to the fire.

Fineman PR’s infographic below uses the two incidents as examples of how to apologize effectively:

A tale of two apologies: Southwest vs. United

A version of this post originally appeared on the Fineman PR blog; reprinted with permission.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter