- United Airlines‘ reputation is surging after it ended a discount program for NRA members, according to a new study.
- The increase in positive sentiment comes after a difficult year for the airline, which struggled with its response to an incident in which it dragged a passenger off an overbooked flight.
- Overall, the study found that consumer sentiment was largely unchanged for most brands that announced an end to their NRA partnerships.
Eleven months ago, United Airlines was in the middle of a colossal PR crisis after dragging a passenger off an overbooked flight. The airline dug itself into a deeper hole with its response to the incident, which many perceived as being insensitive.
Now, United’s reputation is surging after it announced it was ending a discount program for NRA members on Saturday. A study released by YouGov BrandIndex on Thursday, which measured consumer responses to brands that cut ties with the NRA, found that United received one of the biggest reputational bumps.
The study included two surveys labelled “word of mouth” and “buzz,” which asked respondents whether they had talked about a brand with friends or family members and if they’d noticed more positive or negative sentiments around a brand in the past two weeks, respectively. United received a larger increase in its “buzz” score than any of the 16 other brands that were measured, and the sixth largest increase in its “word of mouth” score. Delta Air Lines received the largest increase in its “word of mouth” score.
Overall, the study found that the sentiment around most brands was largely unchanged after announcing an end to their NRA partnerships. Respondents who identified as Democrats tended to like the brands more, while those who identified as Republicans didn’t show a significant change in opinion.
That result is surprising, given the increasingly divisive nature of the debate around gun ownership. While most Americans, Democratic lawmakers, and President Donald Trump have shown support for increased gun control measures like more thorough background checks, many Republican lawmakers continue to oppose any new gun regulations.