By Mifzal Malik
United Airlines has probably become the world’s most hated company of the week when a passenger was forced to volunteer to leave the aircraft due to an overbooked cabin to make way for airline staff. Video circulated on the internet of the passenger that was allegedly body slammed by an airport cop after refusing to leave his seat.
I have no idea how United Airlines generally is even before this occurred but reading over their history, they are not fond of having an abusive relationship with their customers. But hey, let’s look at the positive side of all this ruckus. At least they apologized!
That’s right, they apologized to all of the customers who had to sacrifice their paid seats, emphasizing what a caring company they are and how not-a-big-deal it is that one of their passengers ended up bleeding from his face while repetitively saying “I have to go home” and “Just kill me” as he was escorted via red carpet out of the aircraft.
Donald Trump would have tweeted about this but I assume he was too busy punishing Sean Spicer for his PR in misqouting Hitler as an analogy for the chemical attacks in Syria.
For those who don’t have a clue about what kind of airlines United is, think of them like Air Asia; cheap fares and baggage fees. Minus the ridiculous overbooking of course.
Bottomline here, if an airplane overbooks its seats, they should be allowed to offer a premium refund and bonus to passengers willing to give up their seats. They should not have the authorirt to physically remove a customer that has paid for their seat and is not committing some kind of crime or disturbance.
Overbooking a plane should not be cause for physical force in removing a passenger. It doesn’t matter who does it. If the passenger refuses to leave when a seat has been double booked, the airplane’s only legal course of action should be to keep increasing the value of the refund until someone eventually accepts the offer. Any ‘airport security’ called to the scene should recognize this as the proper course of action and respond accordingly. Physically assaulting a paying customer because “oops, we sold too many” is not an acceptable response in any situation.
Was it really worth it?
As you could imagine, United’s market value dropped ridiculously on the day of the incident by removal of $1 billion. If that wasn’t enough, many people have decided to boycott the airlines as the way they dealt with the problem was truly irresponsible, unethical and disrespectful.
Personally, the only good thing to come out of this was the birth of United Airlines memes. The internet once again never letting us down with it’s satirical charm. Someone even made an elegant advertising video with clips from the incident.
An updated guide to the cabin.
United Airlines new safety card.
Modernized cabin crew. (All picture credits go to Twitter and Imgur)