PRCA 4332S – United Airlines Crisis

Social media went wild after a video was released of a United Airline passenger, David Dao, getting forcefully removed from an airplane by security officers.

This video was seriously damaging to United Airlines reputation and created a large crisis for the company after being released in early April. There was even talk of boycotting the company. Due to the flight being overbooked, the passenger was asked to give up his seat after he was already seated. Dao refused, which lead to his forceful removing and serious injuries (Zdanowicz ). This crises raises not only one, but two serious issues United Airlines has to deal with. The first, and obvious, one is making right what happened directly to David Dao. The other issue the company needs to address is the over booking of flights, which was essentially the cause of this crisis.

It is quite obvious that there are many ways this crisis could have been avoided. For starters I think United Airlines should have stopped over booking flights a long time ago. Asking customers to give up seats on their flight does nothing but anger them and hurt the companies reputation. If this issue was addressed by United’s crisis team earlier, this situation with David Dao might have been avoided completely. Although it is unfortunate something like this to happen first, United Airline has changed its overbooking policy. Passengers who are already seated can not be taken off the flight (Czarnecki).

United Airlines changing their overbooking policy was a step in the right direction. However, it is still going to take more from the company to heal from this crisis. After this violent event occurred, CEO Oscar Munzo released two public forms of apologies on Twitter and Good Morning America (Czarnecki). Although I think the public appreciated seeing this, I do not think it is enough. The airline is still being boycotted, and because of this I believe something bigger needs to be done by the company. I have not heard much in the news about things United is doing to recover from this. I think the organization and PR practitioners need to formulate a way to re-brand the company and hopefully gain the public’s trust again.


Czarnecki, S. (2017, June 7). Timeline of a crisis: United Airlines. Retrieved June 13, 2017, from

Zdanowicz, C., & Grinberg, E. (2017, April 11). Passenger dragged off overbooked United flight. Retrieved June 13, 2017, from




A Chipotle Lovers Worst Nightmare – First blog for PRCA 2330 Summer

A true food lovers tragedy struck in November of 2015 when Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants were shut down for health concerns regarding E. coli. Isn’t Chipotle supposed to be the healthy fast food place? That’s what I thought too, but this put a big damper on the company’s PR.

The west coast was the main region that fell victim of this E. coli outbreak. Chipotle restaurants quickly responded to this a few days later by sanitizing their restaurants and replacing all their food items. Although it is good that they responded to this problem so quickly, I think they could have gone a little further in making sure this did not happen again. Replacing their food might not stop the problem if they are getting their food from the same place. Personally, I think it would have been more beneficial to change where their food came from and present that to the public.

Sure enough, Chipotle got hit with another E. coli outbreak shorty after the first one. The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention opened two investigation on the restaurant. As if one wasn’t already enough. Being someone who eats Chipotle quite often, and knows a hand full of people who do as well, this is very frightening to me. These outbreaks came to a grand total of 55 people infected with E. coli. I think Chipotle’s response this time was a little more thought through then the last. The company stopped serving at the effected locations and held a nation wide food-safety training session.

Coming from a girl who grew up eating at Chipotle, I appreciate the company taking this seriously and re-training employees on food safety. However, my concern from the first outbreak still stands. Will this be enough to stop this E. coli mess for good? The FDA investigated in hopes to find what ingredient the E. coli was getting traced back to, however were unable to find it.  Come February of 2016, the CDC declared that the Chipolte E. coli outbreak was over. The company reported a list of safety perceptions they had to take before opening a restaurant for business in hopes to prevent this issue from happening again.

Although Chipotle did about all they could to recover their image from this issue, I still do not know if I will ever trust it the same. Will I ever eat it again? Sure, but not as often as I used to. I think this issue will be talked about for a very long time even though the outbreak is over, and will continue to hurt their reputation. I would have liked to see Chipotle start using different, and perhaps safer, ingredient vendors. I think this would have allowed customers to trust their food again, and given them the healthy reputation they had before.