Monday, April 10, 2017

Fly the Unfriendly Skies—Atonement for United Airlines

The Glitter Globe, Man dragged off plane, United Airlines forces man off plane
The Glitter Globe/S.R. Karfelt

You have been weighed.
You have been measured.
And you have absolutely, been found wanting.

That Knight’s Tale quote pretty much sums up the public’s consensus toward United Airlines, after they had a customer forcibly removed from one of their airplanes today. The crime? They wanted his seat. The one he paid for and was sitting in. They wanted to give it to someone else.

The fact that he’s a doctor who had patients to see, and didn’t want to give up his seat, is irrelevant to me. It shouldn’t matter if he was a rich guy heading off on vacation for the thirteenth time this year, or if he was a poor man going to his father’s funeral. He bought and paid for a ticket, and he was sitting in his seat.

It seems a good deal of the internet is playing judge, jury, and executioner on this topic. Maybe because we’ve all had our share of flying problems.

Traveling takes a lot of juggling, and effort. By the time a passenger gets to their seat and they’re ready to go, it’s not a good time to expect them to change their schedule and rework their plans. 

When something goes wrong in my life I tend to hurry up to see the bottom line. How soon can this be fixed, and what will it take? That’s where my mind usually goes. That’s what I’m going to do for United Airlines. Free of charge. In my opinion, if nobody dies, it is recoverable.

The man dragged off the flight, his family, and any close friends who travel with him the rest of his life, should get free First Class. Forever. Likely he’ll tell United to suck it, and sue them anyway. Few would blame him. Still, at least it would show the desire to make amends on the part of the airline.

It seems like whoever dragged the man from the plane might have been local police. I imagine they were doing their job. Some guy won’t get off the flight, they’ll make him. Unless they’re some type of mercenary or airline police, United can and probably will go all Medea and blame the Po-Po.

I call bullshit on United blaming the police.

If I promise one of my kids that they can ride shotgun, and another kid hops in the seat. It’s my job to fix that. I don’t call the police on that kid. Bad call on the part of United if they did.

If the airline had offered enough incentive, someone would have gotten up voluntarily. If they promise me a free round trip ticket anywhere United flies, and they’re going to get me on another flight that day, I’d give up my seat in a heartbeat!

From stats I’ve seen flying around today, United appears to not force people off airplanes very often. I don’t care. Unless the person is a nuisance, it needs to not be happening at all. Not after the passengers are seated. That’s bullshit.

Why is overbooking a thing anyway? You sell the seats you have. If someone doesn’t show up you keep their money. If they bought a ticket that allows them not to show up at the last minute, I’m going to bet that ticket costs so much that the airline still comes out better financially.

What I’d like to see is an airline with the gonads to STOP OVERBOOKING. That’s my writerly advice to United. Shite-can the lip service and actually make this right. What people want from an airline is safe and good service. The real kind. Not the cleverly packaged bullshit kind. Genuine. Service. 

Be real, United. Make it right. 

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