It didn’t take long for the internet to turn the entire United Airlines passenger ejection fiasco into a meme that will live on for a long time, serving as a constant reminder of just how badly the company handled the situation. Now, with countless current and former United Airlines passengers pledging to never fly with the company again, competing airlines are using the troubling event as an opportunity to both lure in new customers and take a jab at the third largest airline on the planet.
Royal Jordanian was the first of United’s competitors to jump at the opportunity to rub salt in an open wound, tweeting a joke that, while timely, might be a bit on the tasteless side:
— Royal Jordanian (@RoyalJordanian) April 10, 2017
Social media users keeping tabs on the situation weren’t particularly thrilled with Royal Jordanian’s approach, but it still managed to score quite a bit of exposure, for better or worse.
Next, Emirates decided to try its hand at capitalizing on United’s drama by taking a direct shot at its CEO. In a tweet, the company quoted United Airlines President and CEO Oscar Munoz — fresh off of a terribly tone-deaf statement about the passenger ejection incident — who had taken a dig at “those [gulf] airlines,” which includes Emirates:
It’s a much more clear-headed approach than the knee-jerk trolling of Royal Jordanian, but it’s also an incredibly bold move to steal a competitors tagline and basically make it your own.
It’s worth noting that none of the major North American airlines took the opportunity to mock United, which may be due to the fact that almost all of them have had their own issues in the past. Of course, that didn’t stop the meme masters of Twitter from spawning a few unofficial gags of their own:
— 🏒 Michael Kelly 🇨🇦 (@VIMichaelKelly) April 11, 2017
Delta Airlines has finally broken their silence on the recent controversy pic.twitter.com/wCAdC2lzwF
— matt jennings (@NotMattJ) April 12, 2017