No wonder iPhone prices have skyrocketed…

Corporate travel is often a very hush, hush subject. In a world with increased scrutiny toward corporate greed and misuse or abuse of funds, the image of well heeled executives enjoying fine champagne and beds in the skies on corporate dime can be quite frowned upon, even when it’s entirely justified. With that in mind, it’s hard to imagine Apple was thrilled that United made 5ft posters proclaiming that the consumer tech giant takes an eye popping 50 business class seats a day between San Francisco and Shanghai, or that it spends at least $150 million a year on flights with the airline. It probably wasn’t too thrilled when the story went viral, either. Google, Deloitte, Chevron, Intel, Visa, Oracle or any of the other companies mentioned on these 5 foot tall plastic lightning rods are probably in the same boat…

Letting the world know who butters your bread, and how much they spend rarely works out well. Photos of United signage, proclaiming its biggest customers – and how much they spend have now gone viral, sparking intrigue, outrage and a feeling of “you had one job”. When you have a $150 million dollar a year client, and/or multiple $10 million plus a year clients, your only jobs are to keep them happy and keep that information confidential. Printing massive banners telling the world how rich they make you rarely makes clients happy. In a world of smart phones, it’s almost assumed that photos will be taken of anything and everything. The “50 business class seats a day between San Francisco and Shanghai” was a nice touch, if you were hoping to light money on fire.

On famed Apple discussion site, one user spoke with conviction of how the late great Steve Jobs would’ve handled this leak, speculating “Not sure how Cook responds, but Jobs would’ve cancelled all reservations personally and would send someone to find a new airline where such details don’t get out in public”.

For now, all we can learn from this foolish disclosure is why the uninspired iPhone X can retail for $1000. Those business class tickets don’t pay for themselves. It’s quite hard to think of a more expedient way to light $150 million on fire than by publishing a list of your best customers for the world, and namely, sales executives from other airlines to see and then letting it reach the public. Will there be some high profile airline sales team dinners in San Francisco this week? You bet. If you ever wondered why United, or any other airline seem largely uninterested in your customer service issues, you now know why…

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