Are people actually going to #BoycottUnited?
More than 40 percent of people who heard about the scandal say they would pay more and endure a longer trip just to avoid flying United, according to a recent survey of nearly 2,000 Americans from Morning Consult.
Nearly four in five said they would shun the airline if given the choice between two otherwise identical flights through different carriers. (American Airlines was the other choice for the purposes of the poll.)
For comparison, the split between American and United was half and half among people who somehow hadn’t caught wind of last week’s incident. Eighty percent of that group chose United when the other flight was longer and more expensive.
Even so, there’s no guarantee the harsh feelings towards the airline will linger long.
People are beholden to price above all else, most analysts and business pundits said, and industry consolidation means airlines can do pretty much whatever they want to you.
The public memory for scandals involving commodities like air travel is especially short, according to Loraine Lau-Gesk, a business school professor at the University of California at Irvine, who was quoted in the report.
For its part, United seems masochistically determined to ensure people don’t forget. Days after the passenger ejection, the media picked up on a bizarre story in which a scorpion fell from an overhead bin and stung a passenger. The airline is in the headlines again this week after blocking a wedding-bound couple from boarding their flight.
So much for the “friendly skies.”