by James Buchanan
As if getting a homosexual groping by a TSA employee every time you fly isn’t bad enough, United Airlines has gone out of its way to treat its passengers like garbage. Passengers on a booked up flight from Chicago to Louisville looked on in horror as a passenger, who had a ticket and who was sitting in his assigned seat, was dragged off the plane screaming!
A Huffington Post article reports “Several disturbing videos posted to social media Sunday show a man being violently dragged off a United Airlines plane out of Chicago after the company overbooked the flight.”
“Video posted to social media shows the man screaming as security personnel pry him out of his chair, causing his head to bash against an armrest. He’s then dragged down the aisle on his back as horrified witnesses film on their phones and scream out in disgust.”
“’My God, what are you doing? No, this is wrong!’ one woman cries as she watches the man being dragged past her feet. ‘Oh my God look at what you did to him! Oh my God!’”
“Someone else describes the man as having ‘busted his lip.’”
“Audra D. Bridges, who posted a video of the encounter to Facebook, told The Courier-Journal that airline staff were looking for one volunteer to give up a seat before the flight to Louisville, Kentucky, boarded. Passengers were offered $400 and a hotel stay.”
“After the flight boarded, staff announced that they needed four people to volunteer to give up seats so that United employees who needed to be in Louisville Monday could take them. The amount was increased to $800, she said, and passengers were told the plane wouldn’t leave until four people volunteered.”
So, this wasn’t really a case of four over-booked passengers such as 104 passengers being booked on a plane that only holds 100. United Airlines had somehow fouled up and needed another four flight crew in Louisville, and they chose to kick off four passengers to make room for them. I guess the customers come last at United.
While United did offer a hotel room and some cash to people, who offered to get off the plane, some airline flights are booked up with business travelers, who need to get to work the next day and their employers won’t be happy if they don’t show up. Assuming that there will be four people willing and able to spend an extra day in a high crime crap-hole like Chicago in a hotel not of their choosing is a bit much to expect.
The article continues “When nobody offered, staff announced a computer would select four people. One couple cooperated and left. The man in the video was also selected.”
“One Twitter user who also posted video of the dramatic ordeal said the airline sought four volunteers ‘for personnel that needed to be at work the next day.’”
“In the videos, an upset woman is heard suggesting that the pilots rent a car and drive to Louisville instead.”
That upset woman sounds like she should be working as an executive at United since she clearly has more sense than the people running things there.
Presumably, the flight crew of four included a pilot, co-pilot and two stewardesses. There’s probably some regulation about pilots getting a certain amount of sleep so maybe they had to take a flight, but there were several ways United could have solved this without forcing people off a flight with one of them kicking and screaming!
The extra pilot and co-pilot could have replaced two stewardesses on that flight and made themselves useful passing out peanuts. The two stewardesses needed in Louisville could have rented a car and driven from Chicago to there, or United could have found a temp agency in Louisville and hired two temps to fill in as stewardesses.
Another option would have been to have the four flight crew hop on a plane that wasn’t completely full that was flying to a city near Louisville and then drive a rental car from there to Louisville.
Yet another option would be to take a small business jet normally used by United executives and fly the air crew on that to Louisville.
What United did was about the worst option they possibly could have done. United has just earned itself a billion dollars worth of bad publicity and anyone, who absolutely needs to be somewhere on business travel or a family emergency is NOT going to book their flight on United, where customers clearly come last.