Shares of United Airlines stock took a nosedive in early trading Tuesday after the company found itself mired in controversy stemming from an incident that took place on a company plane over the weekend.
In pre-trading Tuesday, United Airlines stock was down around 6 percent after a poor performance in international markets. Just prior to the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, the shares rebounded to about -2 percent.
However, as trading began in the U.S. on Tuesday, the stock continued its downward spiral to about -4 percent as of 10:30 a.m. EST. If the trend continues, United is set to lose hundreds of millions in market capitalization, according to Market Watch.
A 3 percent decline would take a staggering $600-700 million off the company’s market value, while a 6 percent decline would erase about $1.4 billion off the company’s market cap.
Needless to say, United is so far feeling the effects of the free market as their public relations nightmare remains ongoing.
Video captured inside of a plane scheduled to go from Chicago to Louisville late Sunday showed a man being brutally dragged from his seat by three airport security personnel after United Airlines overbooked the flight and needed to replace four passengers with crew members.
That man, Dr. David Dao, was one of four passengers randomly selected by United officials to lose their seat, despite already boarding the aircraft. According to video, Dao needed to be back in Louisville to see patients on Monday, which is why he was so reluctant to debark the plane.
After all, the only incentive United offered was an $800 travel voucher — not cash — to passengers who got bumped, which is hardly an incentive to lose a day’s work.
In the end, Dao was left with a bloody face after his head was smashed into an armrest as he was forcefully removed and dragged out of the airplane.
The incident was arguably the biggest news story on Monday, despite an elementary school shooting in California. One of the officers has been placed on leave, according to Chicago Police, while United CEO Oscar Munoz essentially blamed the Dao for what happened.
United Airlines is the third largest airline in the U.S. and is based in Chicago.