The cost of dragging a passenger off an overbooked flight is adding up for United Continental Holdings amid a nearly 3% selloff Tuesday that has wiped nearly $600 million off of the airline's market value.
United, which is engulfed in a public relations firestorm following Sunday's on-flight confrontation with a passenger who was pulled off an overbooked flight in Chicago, is experiencing a major loss in altitude in its stock price Tuesday. Around 12:30 ET, United (UAL) shares were down $1.87 or 2.6%, to $69.65 per share, but well off their lows for the day. The current stock decline adds up to an estimated $588 million loss in market value, according to USA TODAY research.
At its trading low earlier in the day, shares were down $3.16, or more than 4%, which at the time had briefly erased nearly $1 billion ($994.2 million) in market capitalization.
The confrontation between the passenger and United flight crew members was caught on video, went viral on social media and was seen by hundreds of millions of people around the world. United CEO Oscar Munoz issued an apology Monday but appears to have prompted more negative backlash after he sent a letter to airline employees crediting the crew involved in the incident with following established procedures.