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Shame On You, United

I don't often comment on current events, but the story about the passenger that United Airlines beat bloody and dragged off a flight -- for no reason but to accomodate some of their own deadheading employees, and despite the fact that he had a ticket that he'd bought and paid for and was doing nothing but sitting peacefully in his assigned seat -- has me seeing red.

Jimmy Kimmel said it better than I could.



I stand with Jimmy, with Alan Grayson, and with millions of other ordinary Americans from coast to coast who were outraged by these videos, and by the mealy-mouthed corporate bullshit the United's CEO chose to offer afterwards.

One point Jimmy did not raise: in what world does an airline employee's need to get to his next flight take precedence over a doctor's need to return to his hospital?

The "police" who dragged the man off the plane and beat him do not deserve the name of police officers, and should be fired immediately. "They were just following orders" is no excuse.

The United CEO should also resign. He's a disgrace.

I am old enough to remember when airlines were regulated, and passengers had rights. But we deregulated the airlines, and now passengers are cattle. The present rule seems to be just what Kimmel says: do what we say, or else. You may have given us your money, but we owe you nothing.

And here's the cherry for your (bloody) sundae: United has also announced plans to begin charging passengers for carry-on luggage.

Comments

( 67 comments )
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jaemi_z_h
Apr. 12th, 2017 03:41 pm (UTC)
"volunteer"
Ugh "we asked him to volunteer, but when he wouldn't volunteer we had to remove him" I don't think they really understand what volunteering is...
I particularly hate the way the media then picked through the guys private life, so now people are starting to act like he deserved it cos he has a criminal record....
aegonvivelaryon
Apr. 12th, 2017 03:53 pm (UTC)
Aftermath
And here's the aftermath: https://www.liveleak.com/view?i=e0e_1491853376 Oddly enough the media don't seem to have picked up on it. Poor guy :( What a disgrace.
chrispina
Apr. 12th, 2017 07:09 pm (UTC)
I've heard some talk that the employees were "must ride" passengers according to federal guidelines. They had to be at another airport ASAP to keep things moving. That said, there should have been more incentives offered to entice volunteers. Someone would have taken the deal eventually and they would have saved time, money, and their reputation.

This blog post goes into more detail: https://thepilotwifelife.wordpress.com/2017/04/11/i-know-youre-mad-at-united-but-thoughts-from-a-pilot-wife-about-flight-3411/
Eddie Saunders
Apr. 12th, 2017 08:03 pm (UTC)
Pretty downright disappointing.
Sickening is the word I'd use, and it still doesn't feel like it gives this issue justice. First of all, the man had initially volunteered to stay, under the understanding that he would be able to get another flight later in the day. A man who paid for their service, someone who is their customer, and was even kind enough to first offer himself to stay and wait for the next flight. Then upon learning that he would not be back in time for work, and as he is a doctor, this being very critical for him, was treated that way?

I'm at a complete loss of words. I don't really follow the mass hysteria that is going on in this age with police brutality, because they are usually very isolated incidents where the bad few set a terrible example for the good many. These cops don't deserve a badge though. You don't treat people like that. Furthermore, the man had not broken any laws that could require police intervention. He had paid for his flight, was booked for this flight. Not only should United be taking more responsibility for this situation, the police force who's officers were involved should be penalizing these men very heavily.

In other news, here is an example of good police work at an airport.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1CjZN2H5-8
alice_mccoy
Apr. 12th, 2017 08:07 pm (UTC)
Did you see this piece about the laws and where eu law is linked......
Flyer beware: why the customer isn't always right at 40,000ft

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/apr/11/flyer-beware-why-the-customer-isnt-always-right-at-40000ft?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Copy_to_clipboard
dragonborngurl
Apr. 12th, 2017 08:35 pm (UTC)
I consider this corporate terrorism! We need corporations to know their businesses will suffer if they approve of their employee's sick behavior! The airline security officer is just another example of a disturbed person given power and this also needs to be addressed sooner than later because America is slowly becoming a police state. This is no small thing that happened! Dr Dao was clearly traumatized by what was happening to him, he was actually clinging to a curtain saying "kill me." It was a disturbing situation performed by too many people who have lost their ability to access "empathy." weird!
chibichang
Apr. 12th, 2017 10:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you for speaking out on this. I had to bear through a co-worker saying that it was the passenger's own fault for not complying and something about "entitled millennials."

Passengers should have more rights. United could have handled it better. "Oh, you're a doctor seeing patients tomorrow? Let's not forcibly remove you, let's increase the travel voucher for volunteers!" Which would have been much cheaper than the $800 million United has lost in stocks.
jaemi_z_h
Apr. 13th, 2017 09:15 am (UTC)
Faith Militant
Hey, this is unrelated but I thought you might find this noteworthy, assuming you don't already know;
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/apr/11/alabama-church-police-force-senate-vote
andaman23
Apr. 13th, 2017 05:23 pm (UTC)
Book Recommendation
Hey George,

Just finished my 4th read of ASOIAF, and I want to know where to head next: "The Accursed Kings", "Wheel of Time", or "The Dark Tower"? Or something else altogether? (Note: I'm quickly reading "The Operators" by Michael Hastings, love to get a little non-fiction in between my other reads, and this one is very fitting for the times).

Much obliged.
grrm
Apr. 13th, 2017 06:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Book Recommendation
Depends on what you feel like reading.

If you've enjoyed ICE & FIRE and want something similar, Maurice Druon is closest, though it has no fantasy elements. Jordan is heavy fantasy, in contract. And King is completely different in setting and tone. But they are all entertaining books.
aegonvivelaryon
Apr. 14th, 2017 10:58 am (UTC)
Re: Book Recommendation
Been through the Thousand Worlds universe? You probably have, but if not, have a look and when you're done you'll be more than ready for that 5th ASOIAF read ;)

I may be incorrect (not always easy to tell), but I think there's 24-25 stories of various length (+ one unfinished, Avalon). I'd estimate them to be about the size of a single ASOIAF book in total. Mayhaps George can correct me? I'd love to know if I missed some.

Edited at 2017-04-14 11:01 am (UTC)
silverwhistle
Apr. 13th, 2017 07:51 pm (UTC)
Well said, George!
I haven't flown for 4 years. I was returning from Paris to Glasgow after an academic conference. The plane touched down in Cardiff to let some passengers disembark, but all of us had to get off and go through security and get back on again, as it was "arriving as an international but leaving as a domestic". I was made to take my boots off by customs/security (yes, it was summer, but I wear ankle boots because of an old injury), and my baggage gone through, my name called out on the tannoy to reboard. i was in tears, very stressed, near meltdown (I'm Aspie, but was then-undiagnosed). When I got home, I realised that a small cuddly toy bought for a friend had gone missing, and that they'd spilled my contact lens fluid over some books I'd bought…
kalimac
Apr. 14th, 2017 08:13 am (UTC)
Here's a detailed legal analysis of what went wrong on the day.

It wasn't overbooking, it was an incompetent attempt to make room for deadheading airline employees.

FAA rules do not allow employees to take precedence over paying customers as casually as an actual overbooking situation would.

Even if it is possible, that only applies before you board the passengers. Passengers already seated cannot be ordered to leave unless they've committed a specified violation.

Being obstreperous in response to the order to leave doesn't count, because the order to leave was already illegal.

Lastly, the removal was so brutal it knocked the guy out. A concussion is a serious injury, especially in an older person.
sue_bursztynski
Apr. 16th, 2017 01:04 pm (UTC)
I've heard that overbooking is fairly common in the US, though I've never encountered it here. I don't understand. If you have a last minute no-show, you don't give them a refund. I'm pretty sure that's in most flight contracts. Why do they think they need to overbook? Nobody else does. There are so many seats in a theatre or a cinema or a football stadium. When they're sold out, that's it. Why would you sell a plane seat twice?
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