“I was only following corporate algorithms” < Testimony given at a future war crimes trial (riff on the Nuremberg defense)
United Airlines forcibly removed a man from an “overbooked” flight. The incident was captured on video by other passengers and the story went viral on the social networks. United flubbed its response to incident, adding fuel to the anger. The story went global overnight, sparking massive outrage (hundreds of millions of views in China, an important market for United). The next day, United stock gets hammered, losing ~$1.4 billion off its stock price by midday. What happened? This incident is a pretty good example of how rigid algorithmic and authoritarian decision making can create corporate disasters in an age dominated by social networking.
Will anyone ever again be able to recall the old United Airlines slogan “Fly the Friendly Skies” without a jolt of irony? There will be no quick fix for the furor over the airline’s handling of a now-notorious incident Sunday night, when security agents dragged a passenger, screaming and bloody, from a fully boarded plane. The airline had bumped him from an overbooked flight to Louisville, Kentucky; he said he was a doctor who had to get home to see patients, and complained he was being discriminated against as an Asian American.
Passengers captured the incident on video, of course, and it went mega-viral. Here are three of the many stories it tells.
We all know that the price of flights goes up and down in the days, weeks, and months before you board the plane. But did you know that you can track those changes in Google Flights? That way, instead of booking your flight right away, you can do it once you’ve got confirmation that the meeting is going ahead — and potentially at a lower price!