United to Customer: a (SPECIFIC APOLOGY) to a (SPECIFIC EVENT)

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A fill-in-the-blanks form letter allegedly sent by United Airlines in response to a passenger complaint went viral last week. The letter, dated July 17, was posted on reddit – an entertainment, social networking service and news website.

The letter said “Your comments regarding (SPECIFIC EVENT) will be used for coaching and training our employees,” and “To encourage you to fly with us again and as a tangible means to acknowledge your disappointment, enclosed is (SPECIFIC ITEM).”

Ironically enough, just a week before this letter was written, Scott McCartney of The Wall Street Journal wrote and article about “The Art of the Airline Apology” and explained the method of apologizing used by United Airlines.

According to the article, United said it tries not to go overboard on the apology. “Generally we tell the customer we are sorry they did not have the experience they expected on United,” spokesman Rahsaan Johnson said. “We try to be empathetic to the customer but not sound insincere.”

That is, if they remember to fill-in-the blanks. Here is the full story on “The Art of The Airline Apology


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