After United Airlines had a passenger violently removed from a flight on Sunday, the media has eviscerated the airline for its customer service. Many entertainment outlets and social media users took to creating parodies and memes mocking the airline, including Jimmy Kimmel, who made a fake United Airlines commercial to convey his take on the issue and shame the airline for its unacceptable behavior.
Kimmel opened his show on Monday evening by giving audiences an overview of the incident, where a doctor from Louisville was forcibly removed from a flight by Chicago Department of Aviation Security officers after refusing to give up his seat to United Airlines employees. As he was being taken from the flight, the man was injured and bleeding from the mouth, horrifying fellow passengers.
After showing airline passengers' videos of the incident, Kimmel lambasted United Airlines' official apology from its CEO, who apologized for "having to re-accommodate these customers." Kimmel took issue with the word "re-accommodate" and characterized the entire apology as "sanitized, say-nothing, take-no-responsibility, corporate-BS speak." However, United's CEO issued a more sincere apology on Tuesday:
The truly horrific event that occurred on this flight has elicited many responses from all of us: outrage, anger, disappointment. I share all of those sentiments, and one above all: my deepest apologies for what happened. Like you, I continue to be disturbed by what happened on this flight and I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard. No one should ever be mistreated this way.
I want you to know that we take full responsibility and we will work to make it right.
Still, to illustrate his point, Kimmel played a hilarious but sobering parody ad video for United Airlines that featured airline employees further perpetuating the notion that customers are beholden to the airline — and not vice versa.
The commercial featured a faux United Airlines flight attendant describing how passengers are expected to "behave" on the airline. The woman described the airline's "rules" as video clips of passengers boarding a plane played on the screen, saying,
We’re United Airlines. You do what we say when we say, and there won’t be a problem, capiche? If we say you fly, you fly. If not, tough sh*t.
The end of the parody ad also featured a flight attendant wearing brass knuckles and reciting the slogan "United Airlines — F*ck You."
Kimmel's ad received a great deal of attention on social media, with users praising Kimmel for his creative critique of the embattled airline. Hopefully with all of the attention United Airlines is receiving — from Kimmel, social media, various news outlets, and the public — companies will learn to treat its customers with more respect and dignity across the board.