United Airlines ad, reused flight numbers cause outrage

Steven Nelson Associate Editor
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It has been a tough week for United Airlines’ public image. Twice in one week the company has been embarrassed by lapses in judgement relating to the 9/11 attacks, when terrorists hijacked and crashed two of the company’s planes.

On Thursday, NBC New York reported that a United Airlines ad reading, “You’re going to like where we land” was installed at a bus stop immediately next to the site of the former World Trade Center.

New York City’s MTA said that it planned “to remove the ad from that location as soon as possible.” A United spokesperson claimed that the company didn’t know that the ad was placed across the street from where United Flight 175 hit the South Tower.

The advertisement controversy comes following the accidental re-issuance of the flight numbers of United Airlines’ two hijacked flights. On Wednesday the company apologized on its Facebook page for the mistake.

“We discovered that flight numbers 93 and 175 were inadvertently reinstated in our future schedule,” states the post on United’s Facebook page. “We regret the error, apologize and are taking immediate steps to remove the numbers from our system.”

United MEC Chairman Captain Wendy Morse issued a statement excoriating the company for the mistake. “Their insensitivity and unconscionable disrespect of these sacred flight numbers and their meaning to the employees of United Airlines and the families of those who lost their lives nearly 10 years ago are not only alarming, but reprehensible,” wrote Morse.

Morse demanded accountability from the company. “How could these flight numbers have been ‘inadvertently reinstated’ as the company indicates? The pilots of United Airlines expect accountability of how these flight numbers were considered in the first place.”

The airline pilot’s union said that the mistake, “demonstrates a severe disconnect from right and wrong.”