Their feisty response to the US laptop ban went down a storm with social media followers, and now Emirates and Royal Jordanian Airlines are stepping into the fray over United’s “dragged from a plane” incident.
Emirates has made a video – ostensibly to celebrate its being awarded Best Airline in the World status in Monday’s TripAdvisor awards – which directly contrasts the Dubai-based airline with United.
Starting with a quote from United CEO Oscar Muñoz, who said last month that “Those [Gulf] airlines aren’t airlines,” the video addresses Mr Muñoz directly to tell him that not only did they win the best airline plaudit on Monday, but also the categories for best economy class and best first class.
It concludes: “Fly the friendly skies… this time for real.”
“Fly the friendly skies”, of course, is United’s now infamous slogan.
Muñoz has repeatedly come under fire since the story broke, first issuing a bare-bones apology for “reaccommodating” the passenger who was forcibly pulled from his seat and dragged, seemingly unconscious, through the plane, and then calling the passenger “disruptive and belligerent” in a leaked email to United staff.
Last night, he issued a more fulsome apology, calling the event “truly horrific” and promising that a review into the airline’s overbooking policy will be completed by 30 April.
Royal Jordanian, meanwhile, went a step further than Emirates, tweeting that "We are here to keep you united" and “Dragging is strictly prohibited” with a picture of a cigarette. It followed up yesterday with a photo of a grinning captain, captioned “Our pilots happily welcome you on our flights.”
Turkish Airlines which, as part of the Star Alliance group, codeshares with United, has been more circumspect. However it did retweet a story from Arianna Huffington about a baby which was recently born onboard one of its planes (or “involuntarily adding” a passenger, as Huffington wrote).
“We just do our best with love for our guests’ safety and comfort at all times,” the airline responded.
US airlines have been altogether more wary. American Airlines and Delta – which had mass cancellations of flights last weekend – have remained silent. Jetblue, which won best mid-size and low-cost airline on Monday at the TripAdvisor awards, yesterday posted thanks to “all who gave us such positive reviews”.
A retooled Southwest logo, reading “We beat the competition. Not you” proved to be a spoof.
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