With so many people moving over Easter, it’s no wonder United Airlines had to recruit extra staff, just in time and ‘invite’ an already paid passenger or two, to take the next flight. Which could have sounded just like this:

“Attention all passengers, if you are travelling today and would be prepared to take the next flight, United would like to offer you an incentive for doing so, please see one of our cabin attendants if you are interested…”

What did they do?

In a world where every passenger is a news reporter?

They did the unthinkable!

United employees got three security and police personnel to drag a reluctant Chinese Doctor passenger from his paid seat, kicking and screaming down the aisle and created a social media catastrophe!

Instead of creating a ‘raving fan’ in a volunteering passenger with free future tickets, today United created yet another ‘raving bleeding terrorist’, just like Dave Caroll and his band a few years back, when United failed to pay a $900 guitar damage claim. A bad claim policy decision, which ended up costing United an estimated US$180M in stock price losses, when this You Tube clip went viral with 17M views!

If your business values and ethics do not permeate every layer of your organisation, today’s ubiquitioius and transparent world of mobile camera sharing will ultimately bite you.