I Can’t Keep Doing This: 25 More Free Ideas For United Airlines

Companies keep making catastrophic PR/marketing mistakes. I keep giving them free ideas. Because I’m a generous soul. Also because spending someone else’s money is a good time.

Re-accommodation at its very finest.

After brutally “re-accommodating” a man from his seat, it was reported that United Airlines lost $800 million dollars of its share value in the last 24 hours. If you thought I had fun with Pepsi and their (maybe) $30million gaffe… Well, I just couldn’t pass this one up. The next time United Airlines wants to blow through $800million, they should call me. I’m getting good at this.

1 Let’s start with the easy stuff. Full cans of soda. Free adult beverages. If we’ve proven anything as a society over the last few years it’s that we’re simple people and, honestly, we’ll forget about terrible things if you just ply us with extra snacks and some cold drinks. I feel like this might cost you $1/passenger. So just keep doing it until the $800million runs out.

2 Don’t punch people in their faces. Or anywhere else, really. I mean, you probably could’ve gotten away with a few charlie horses — but didn’t you learn anything about the rules of fighting and not getting caught? My brother and I used to fight all the time, but the #1 rule was always ‘no punching in the face.’ Black eyes and bloody lips will get you grounded. This idea won’t cost you a penny and it’s also just the way that normal people behave.

3 Change your name to something different. Here are some options: Harmony Airlines, Peaceful Planes, Totally Not United Airlines, Just The Same Hidden Fees And Aggressive Pricing Models As Everyone Else But We Promise No More Beating People Up Airlines, Happy Airlines, Trump Airlines, Hooters Airlines, Drunk Pilot Airlines. Honestly, any of these will be better than United Airlines moving forward. You’ll have to repaint all your planes and re-print all your materials and everything, but I feel like you’ll still have a few hundred million left over. Give that money to Shea Serrano. He’ll find something good to do with it.

4 Bigger bathrooms. I mean huge bathrooms. Marble countertops and radiant-heated flooring. Bidets. Maybe even some of those rain showers. This is right up there with snacks. Give us luxury bathrooms on all planes and we’ll totally forget that you bloodied a paying passenger. This sounds callous, but we all know it’s true.

I’m not totally down with the color scheme, but this airplane bathroom would make me forget about overbooking.

5 Replace your offering of Coke products with a suite of Pepsi beverages. Stop the violence. Drink Pepsi. Also, Pepsi chemtrails would be great. They’d keep everyone feeling that Kendall Jenner peaceful-protest-after-a-fashion-photo-shoot vibe.

6 Llamas. Again, just $800million of llama-associated shenanigans. (I’m copying this from my Pepsi ideas, but seriously do you blame me? It’s maybe the best idea I’ve ever had.)

Would you believe me if I told you that I have a folder of llama images on my desktop?

7 Buy $800million in tickets for Fate of the Furious, making it the highest grossing movie of all time. Wait, it’s already going to be the highest grossing, best reviewed, and most important movie of all time. So this is still wasting your money, just without the legal battles and PR disasters. You still win.

8 You know how people buy islands? Buy a whole bunch of islands, like an archipelago or something. Put your CEO and other executives on those islands. Leave them there for a while, maybe forever.

9 Invest in Uber. You two deserve each other.

10 Give Joe Swanberg $800million to expand the Jake Johnson Cinematic Universe. I don’t really know what this means, but I’d rather see $800million of Swanberg/Johnson than another minute of whatever DC has in production. (Except maybe Wonder Woman because Gal Gadot… RIP Gisele FF6.)

These guys seem like they’d know what to do with $800million.

11 Bring Prince back to life. We all know that Prince is frozen in carbon or something and that we just need a little cash for some mad scientist to reanimate him with some vital organ transplants (brains and such). Zombie Prince. Make it happen, United.

12 Your headquarters are in Chicago, right? Get Giordano’s to make a stuffed deep dish pizza the size of Rhode Island. See how long it takes the residents of Rhode Island to eat the pizza. Make some #content. Put it on MySpace. MySpace doesn’t exist any more? Buy MySpace and put it back online. Post your Rhode Island pizza videos.

13 Give $40million to PBS. Every year. For the next 20 years.

14 Move the middle seat back six inches in all of your planes. Staggered seating will change the world, especially for us more-broadly-shouldered folks.

15 Place an $800million bet on black at a roulette table. If you win, buy the Minnesota Vikings. If you lose, oh well. Just another $800million down the toilet.

16Quick aside: This is harder than I thought. For whatever reason, spending almost a billion dollars is way harder than just blowing through a measly $30million. So here’s a simple one—Buy 160 spots during the Super Bowl. That’s 80 minutes of air time, just enough to show the entirety of Shane Carruth’s Primer.

This is pretty solid Super Bowl entertainment, right?

17 An $800million stack of $100 bills would be 2,866 ft tall. That’s taller than the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Stack the money next to the building. Feel proud. Watch the money blow away into the desert. Feel nothing.

Stack those hundreds up to the sky.

18 Add $800million to Pepsi’s offer to the KJIC. If this works, we could keep the Kardashian Jenner Industrial Complex out of the news for the next 14 years.

19 Innovate a way for passengers to jump out of the plane with parachutes when the plane is flying directly over their home (or other destination). This would eliminate extra travel time from the airport and would also be a really cool way to arrive at a business meeting.

20 Speaking of parachutes, why don’t planes have gigantic parachutes that would save everyone on board when things go wrong? I’m no engineer, but it seems like $800million could solve that problem.

21 Solve the water crisis in Flint (~$300million), then do the same for two other cities. Apparently, there are more than 30 cities in the country facing similar problems. God help us all.

22 Acquire TGI Friday’s. Serve Endless Apps on all flights. Bring on the Loaded Potato Skins!

23 Let our ECD, Brent Watts design your next airplane. I’d love to see him with an $800million budget. He deserves it.

24 Trap doors underneath every seat on all airplanes. That way, when someone refuses to get off the plane, you just hit a button and they’re gone. All conflict avoided. Honestly, I’m surprised you didn’t already think of this one.

25 I don’t know, maybe buy two brand new 747–8s and put two United employees on each one for the Chicago-to-Louisville flight. They get an entire plane to themselves for the short flight. You’ll still have $100million left over. And you get to keep the planes.


Matt Anderson is the CEO/ECD at Struck. He’s also a husband, a father, a San Francisco Giants fan, a vinyl collector and a book reader.

You can find him on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.


Looking for more insights, facebooking, twittering, ramblings, musings and other thoughts? Follow our Greater Than collection. Also, please hit that little heart down below so we know if you’re digging this stuff or not. Thanks!