The airline pretty much just won the internet with its latest advert…
“Fly the friendly skies with a real airline.”
That was the message Emirates hit back with following United Airlines’ shocking forcible removal of a man from one of its aircraft this week.
A 69-year-old physician was left bloodied and bruised after being dragged from an overbooked plane in the US on Sunday, with the moment captured in a video clip that has made headlines around the world.
Following the incident, United’s CEO Oscar Munoz issued an official statement telling the airline’s staff he “commend[ed] you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right”.
The response was widely criticised – but these weren’t the first words that have landed Munoz in hot water.
Just last month, the CEO slammed Gulf carriers, including Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways, in a public Q&A, saying “those [Gulf] airlines aren’t airlines. They’re international branding vehicles for their countries.”
And Emirates drew on his comments for their latest advertising campaign.
Just days after the passenger’s shocking removal, the airline released a video across its social media channels that’s had more than 900,000 views on Facebook alone in just 12 hours.
“Well Mr Munoz,” the video reads. “According to Tripadvisor, the world’s largest travel site, not only are we a real airline we are the best airline.”
After showing shots of some satisfied traveller on board, the video wraps up by encouraging viewers to “fly the friendly skies… this time for real.”
And yes, “fly the friendly skies” is Chicago-based United’s official slogan.
Munoz has since released another statement condemning the incident, saying “no one should ever be mistreated this way”.
“I continue to be disturbed by what happened on this flight and I deeply apologise to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard,” Munoz said in a letter to staff.
United has lost around US$1 billion off its value in the stock market since the incident.