Earlier this week a photograph of a United Airlines banner went viral. The banner was shown at an internal event held by the company and revealed information about United’s biggest corporate clients. The banner particularly highlighted Apple, revealing it buys 50 business-class tickets for the San Francisco to Shanghai route every day. It also revealed that Apple buys $150 million worth of plane tickets a year from United.
After the story of the banner gained steam yesterday, United Airlines issued a statement not quite apologizing but instead explaining what happened. In short, United says the banner was made to highlight the importance of corporate relationships in the San Francisco area and that now the material has been taken down. Their full statement:
This information was provided to United employees as part of a limited pilot project focused on San Francisco to highlight the importance of our corporate relationships and was not intended to be shared publicly. The project has since been discontinued.
A small group of customers were mentioned by name on this material and each has been contacted directly and we are working to address their concerns. The material has been taken down, and moving forward we will review and further restrict sharing of internal customer information to a strictly need to know audience.
Besides Apple, information about how much Facebook and Google spends on United flights was also made available on the banner.