Assignment 3_US Airways and the Emergency landing in the Hudson


COMM 642

Assignment 3_US Airways and the Emergency landing in theHudson

This case introduced about the flight accident of US Airways which happened on January 15, 2009. Although this was a transportation crisis, there were no people died or wounded. This flight successfully ditched in theHudson Riverwhere located in the northeast of the George Washington Bridge of New York approximately 3:03 p.m. This incident was known as “The Miracle on theHudson”.


This aircraft was an Airbus A320 that was from LaGuardia toCharlotteat that day. There were 150 passengers and 5 members of the crew in this plane. When this plane took off before long, it suffered from the bird strike. Therefore, this airplane had to choose to ditch as soon as possible. This is not a very serious transportation crisis, because none of passengers and crew died and all of them were successfully rescued and safely evacuated. What’s more, the most important and main reason was James Olson who was the vice president of US Airways paid more attention to the company’s crisis communication plan. Actually, US Airways always had some actions to simulate catastrophic accidents in order to have more manners to prevent more incidents, such as tabletop drill. There were several department involving in this plan, for instance, marketing, emergency planning, information technology, and the external crisis response agency.


When this aircraft landed in theHudson River, there were a lot of problem needing to face and solve by US Airways. In this case, it talked about the media reported some wrong news and invited many experts to post their personal comments so that made the audience confused sometimes. Based on this incident, it was very rapid to change the information and site, and updates were made if the information was substantiated. Actually, it needed to be confirmed by the company before the information was released, and the company demanded to acquire the first hand message. Moreover, rescuing the passengers was the urgent affair. Additionally, that time was winter in theUnited States, and the passengers would feel very cold. Thus, food and clothes were another important problem for US Airways. Otherwise, the family of these passengers worried about the safety of them, so the company was facing how to placate these people. Besides these, US Airways was suffering a crisis which influenced the future development and ran off the customers.

Situation (SWOT) Analysis:

The strength for US Airways to handle this crisis was that this company very focused on crisis communication plan and made it more user-friendly. In addition, this company aimed to simulate catastrophic accident. Through this simulated catastrophic accident, US Airways was able to reply this sudden incident immediately. In my opinion, nip in the bud was very meaningful and crucial adjective for a company. This plan was the advantage of US Airways.

By comparison, US Airways also had several weaknesses. Even though this company had enough experience and sophisticated notification system, it could be reported by the media. Otherwise, it took the main officer so long time to determine how to deal with this crisis. Lots of media deviated from the factual information to report to the public so that US Airways might be affected and injured. Additionally, though this company had more actions to prevent transportation crisis, this incident is real. Due to this reason, US Airways needed to change their primary plan in order to fit this crisis.

Actually, this transportation crisis gave US Airways some opportunities. This is not a very fearful accident for this company so that it could rescue these passengers and crew immediately and response to public. Moreover, this company provided more service to the passengers and their family as far as possible to prove the ability of US Airways. Besides, this company obtained more experience to deal with the future problems through this crisis.

Certainly, this crisis brought fewer threats for US Airways, especially the media and competitors. In several cases, when a company suffered a crisis, the media and competitors would give unlimited threats to this company. However, this case was not like those cases. The reason was that US Airways had more crisis management/communication actions.


For this airline, it offered many kinds of strategies to solve current problems and face future issues. Firstly, the preliminary was to ensure whether all the passengers were safely evacuated. This was the key to rescue these passengers and crew. Nevertheless, these passengers stood on the submerged wings of this aircraft; they would feel very cold if they stood there so long time. So the secondary strategy was to offer clothes and food for these passengers. At the same time, this strategy needed more corporations to work hard. Moreover, these groups were dispatched toNew Yorkso that they could afford service, such as cell phone, food and clothes. Cell phones for passengers were used to contact with their family members to tell them the information. What’s more, the third action was that carried special emergency credit cards to book hotel rooms and to buy clothing and other essentials for passengers. This strategy could remedy the impress of customers and asked them to know how to reply this crisis. Next, the passengers could be reimbursed by this company. These people would have the costs of the original airfare. Fifthly, this company praised the flier, and gave his the most prestigious flier level. The last strategy was to invite the passengers to have a trip back out on theHudson Riverat the precise time of day and the precise location where the plane landed a year earlier. In my view, this was an effective plan to enlarge the leverage of US Airways.


After this crisis, US Airways won a good reputation from the publics. Dean Foust praised this incident in his/her article. Moreover, he/she posted the comment “a model of crisis management”. In addition, this airline had more experience to reply future crisis, and made the passengers satisfied. More and more media and websites would report this incident; this was a good chance to broadcast company to have an effective position in the market. It could say that it was a advertisement. Besides that, US Airways would pay more attention to the crisis management/communication actions, and have more simulated catastrophic accidents. A large number of consumers increased in awareness of transportation crisis; meanwhile, consumers would be interested in riding the airplane of US Airways.

My comments:

Through this case, we should have more consciousness about crisis. Otherwise, companies should have more actions to simulate catastrophic accident. Moreover, the benefits for crisis management plan were very important to know. The media should focus on the factual information than the speed and updates. The truth was very essential and significant for the publics.

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4 Responses to Assignment 3_US Airways and the Emergency landing in the Hudson

  1. dijiang313 says:

    “nip in the bud was very meaningful and crucial adjective for a company”, Yes, you are right, a proactive crisis communications plan or crisis drill can help the organziation to minimize the damage and make the rescure action more effective.

  2. rangmoen20 says:

    yes, i support your idea of a proactive crisis plan , it goes a long way in not only saving lives but ensuring standards in company operations.

  3. lilly1989 says:

    “Actually, this transportation crisis gave US Airways some opportunities. This is not a very fearful accident for this company so that it could rescue these passengers and crew immediately and response to public.” I think some people could regard it as an opportunity, some people not. For me, I just feel that some transportation crises could not be prevented, just like tornado, bird struck, storm, and so forth. I think it would be very fearful for us, and the transportation company should do a lot to show that it is very low risk for us to take a plane or some other transportation.

  4. duanyafan says:

    “The strength for US Airways to handle this crisis was that this company very focused on crisis communication plan and made it more user-friendly.”I think the biggest strength for US Airways is that the company be prepared, they have their own crisis plan and make change by time, this can save a lot time and be prepared when they meet crisis.

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