Matthew Klint was a relatively unknown travel blogger until he dared to take a photo on a United flight.
As he told Philadelphia’s CBS station
, the crew freaked out on him, tossed him from the plane, and made him book a later flight—all for snapping a photo of his seat with his iPhone. United cited a no-photo policy as the reason they booted him from the Newark-to-Istanbul flight.
Klint wrote about the incident on his blog, and accused the flight attendant of lying to get him removed from the plane. The post prompted United to reach out to him and offer undisclosed compensation.
Klint then posted
about United’s response, in a remarkably balanced and understanding way:
“United has reached out and I had a 25-minute telephone conversation with a representative in the PR department yesterday. We reached no settlement, but did have time to discuss the issue in depth and I am comfortable saying this—United is taking this issue seriously and has launched an extensive internal investigation.
“At this point, United has not offered an apology and frankly I am not expecting one. An apology would reflect horribly on the pilot and FA and I do understand the delicacy of corporate apologies in general. United did express an appreciation for my loyalty and a desire to see me continue to fly on the carrier.
“I will not tar and feather United Airlines as a whole based on the unfortunate actions of one FA and one pilot. Our 10-year relationship means something and I am not going to split because of one bad day. Having said that, United must now earn my trust back. More importantly, I want to see the airline move in a direction that no passenger is ever again put in the position that I was.”
In an age where everyone is a media outlet, it’s a good idea for companies to recognize this. If you’re in the customer service business, you have to understand that your actions can potentially become media fodder at the click of a “publish” button.
United has learned this the hard way, particularly after a incident with a passenger’s broken guitar led to the viral sensation, “United Breaks Guitars