Why we decided to boycott United Airlines after #flight3411 – a message to the CEO, Oscar Munoz

Today, we have taken a decision as a company to boycott United Airlines. Our staff will not be flying United Airlines even if they offer the cheapest or most convenient option.

We have decided to boycott United Airlines due to the way it treated a passenger on flight 3411. In my daily Live show, I share an open message with Oscar Munoz, the CEO of United Airlines on why we have done this.

In a gist, having the legal right to do something doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the right thing to do.

We would like to stand up to what’s right and it certainly wasn’t right of United to deal with the passenger the way they did. That is why we will boycott United Airlines.

Here are three key reasons why SimpliFlying staff will boycott United Airlines:

  1. United’s staff are not empowered. They love to “pass the buck” and are seldom able to use their own discretion. This situation could have been easily resolved by increasing the offer to passengers until someone gave up their seat for the crew that had to make it to Louisville.
  2. United’s staff severely lack training. This is the issue from the social media team, who tend to give robotic replies without check facts, to the corporate communications people who act like a faceless entity. United needs to train its staff well to address this situation in the long term. Send your staff to Zappos for a day, and you’ll see the difference, United!
  3. United’s staff lack empathy. From the gate agent to the CEO, we sense a total lack of empathy for the passenger who has suffered. Why not put yourself in the other people’s shoes before using the words like “going above and beyond”?

Being part of the industry that connects the world and allows man to realize the dream of flight, there is no room for the apathy of faceless entities like United. We hope to set an example with our actions.


Following our announcement, I was interviewed on the BBC and here’s an audio recording of that interview.



boycott united airlines

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam is a globally sought-after consultant, speaker and thought leader on airline branding and customer engagement strategy. He is the Founder and CEO of SimpliFlying, one of the world’s largest aviation marketing firms working with over 85 aviation clients in the last ten years. Nigam is also the youngest winner of the Global Brand Leadership Award and has addressed senior executives globally, from Chile to China. Nigam’s impassioned and honest perspectives on airline marketing have found their way to over 100 leading media outlets, including the BBC, CNBC, Reuters and Bloomberg, and into leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He writes a dedicated monthly column in Flight’s Airline Business, challenging the typical assumptions about airline marketing. His new book on airline marketing, SOAR, is an Amazon bestseller that’s shaking up the industry and inspiring other industries to learn from the best airlines. Born in India, raised in Singapore, he now lives with his wife and two young daughters in Toronto.
Shashank Nigam
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  • dg

    what if UA retained Simpliflying to help them improve?

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