Wednesday, April 12, 2017

United Airlines Innocent, Flyer and Security Not So Much

By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host

Okay, I've just about had my fill with the news about the United Airlines passenger being dragged off the plane because the company overbooked, but the passenger refused to leave the flight.

Should they overbook?  Probably not.  There is an average number they have calculated of the number of people they believe will not even show up, so based on those numbers, they overbook a little bit to make sure the seats are full.  There is not exactly a very big profit margin in the airline industry, as it is.

Sometimes, when more show up than expected, folks have to be denied boarding.  The airlines usually puts the overbooked folks on another flight, and give them some extra miles, free tickets, or a hotel stay to make up for it.  It happens.  A friend of mine, who was willing to be held back for another flight twice wound up with enough free gifts to book a flight for free to Mardi Gras later.  It was a 2-for-1 deal for him and his wife, in the end.

United Airlines, last year, had to deny boarding to 3,765 passengers due to overbooking.  When you consider they had 143 million passengers in total in 2016, that's not a bad percentage of boarding denials.

The overbooking thing happened on a United Flight, and three of the four passengers said, "No problem, we'll take the goodies for being inconvenienced."  The fourth passenger, not so much.  So, the individual was forcibly removed from the plane, and video of the occurrence, bloody face and all, went viral.

The viewing public went crazy with anger.  Snowflakes began to freak out everywhere.  How could this happen?

I was surprised the rioting snowflakes didn't show up at United's corporate offices with torches and pitchforks waving red flags of the proletariat revolution.

The top guy at United has apologized, twice, as the airline continues to feel the full and unapologetic brunt of the public's outrage.  Problem is, the "jump to conclusions without paying attention to all of the facts" blame is totally misdirected.

Black Lives Matter emerged with their "hands up don't shoot" motto (I prefer "pants up, don't loot", myself), accusing the police of using too much force against blacks.  In most of the cases the outrage occurred, however, it was obvious that each time the suspects were not cooperating with the police.  If you fight with the police, and get mean and nasty with the police, what do you think the response will be?

On the United flight the passenger refusing to cooperate was a 69-year old man.  He resisted, refused, kicked and screamed.  Therefore, the removal became physical. You'll notice the other three passengers who were denied remaining on the aircraft didn't have any problems.

If you are kicking and screaming and acting in a violent manner, what do you think is going to happen?

First, we have a belligerent passenger.  Perhaps someone else should have been chosen.  But, intent to "enforce" the rules, the airport's version of a mall cop, more specifically, a Chicago Aviation Department security officer, decided to physically remove the passenger.

Did you catch that?  It was not a United Airlines employee, officer, or official.

The mall cop. . . I mean, airport cop responsible for the excessive force has been since suspended.

Today's crazy, violent, "scream and get violent if you don't get your way or don't like something because somehow you were offended, or you think someone, someplace was offended" mentality, went into public rage-mode, anyway, and the anger is being pointed squarely at the airline.

The equation is one crazy kicking and screaming passenger plus a big ol' airport cop seeking to be the big authority dude, and somehow that equals "Blame United Airlines."  Yes, yes, I get it, they overbooked.  And I suppose that United could have certainly been more sympathetic, but how is it that the direct blame for a brutalized passenger who refused to work with everyone, and an airport cop that probably went a little overboard, is United Airlines' fault?

United is being careful, I am sure.  They want good public relations, and they want to be cautious when it comes to the legal end of things, but aside from the overbooking thing, there was nothing the airline could have done to avoid this situation, and a whole lot the passenger and airport cop could have done to avoid this whole situation.

The Snowflake Culture of "but we all deserve participation trophies - but we'll riot if you're mean to us" attitude and mindset is becoming a deeper problem then I think people are willing to admit.  Sure, social media is fun, but "innocent until proven guilty" and "just the facts, ma'am" seems not to matter, any more.  The Snowflake mobs of today's irate society rush to judgment and quickly express anger, usually without knowing, or caring about, the details.

How is it we all have gotten so angry?

As a society it's all about being angry, unwillingness, and a culture that believes everything must be vindicated.

Must we be outraged by everything?  Who cares if you don't get your way.  Yeah, the "dragging the guy off the plane" thing was messed up.  I saw the video.  But really?  You're not bothered by the fact that it started because of a temper tantrum by the passenger or the overuse of airport cop authority of the Chicago Aviation Department Authority dude?  How is it that it's all the big corporation's fault?

Doesn't that sound a little Marxist?

Are we now going to constantly launch into a bourgeoisie versus proletariat scream-fest on everything?

There is nothing inherently wrong with being upset over messed up circumstances.  Heck, making it known that something was wrong is a great way to ensure accountability in the business sector.  But do we not realize that this is beyond being bothered over a viral video?  The Snowflake generation now uses their rage as a vicious Marxist weapon with the intent to harm the reputation of anything they don't like, especially when it's a large corporation.

What's even worse, the Snowflake pawns don't even realize that is how they are being used.

Should we be upset over what happened with that passenger in the video?  Sure.  Could it have been avoided?  Absolutely.  Ought we voice our opinions that it was wrong in how he was manhandled by the airport cop?  No doubt in my mind.  Should our outrage be against United Airlines because a passenger acted like a childish idiot and the security officer acted in an irresponsible manner?  Absolutely Not!  That's like blaming the guns in a shooting incident.  How about we recognize that individuals are sometimes dummies, and the corporation simply got caught in the public's heat of the moment?

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary


Call Me Mom said...

I think I disagree with you on this one Mr. Gibbs. United had other choices all along the line.

The problem was that they had four employees who needed to get to Louisville at the last minute or another of their flights would have to be cancelled for lack of that crew. That is why the passengers were already boarded before being bumped. Three passengers accepted the offer calmly and got perks for their inconvenience and that was their choice.

My problem comes with the idea that, having paid for his ticket and having been boarded - all with no problem and in compliance with his end of the contract, now United's choices allow this law abiding passenger to have hands laid on him and be assaulted. For what? For expecting United to hold up their end of the ticket contract?

Yes, he should have behaved better once the problem became apparent, but so should United. They could have offered more money until another passenger agreed to be bumped. They could have sent their employees on another flight - even buying seats on a competing airline if need be and avoided having one of their passengers assaulted. But did they? No. They chose instead to bring in a security guard who then proceeded to assault a paying customer.

I mean, if I ran a glass bottomed boat service and had the same sort of thing happen, would I have the right to shove a paying passenger who had done nothing wrong, overboard? I know it isn't the same thing and that there are laws governing this practice of overbooking, but it looks like United may not have followed the law in this procedure either.

Somehow "Hey come and fly on my plane, but if I decide you are inconvenient for me on that day, I'll beat you up and throw you off" doesn't seem like a good business model.

But, I suppose, since I don't plan to fly anywhere until the TSA is abolished, it falls into the category of not my monkeys, not my zoo. Except that it touches on the subject of individual rights. The idea that someone who is doing the company good (by being a paying customer) can then be assaulted for something that is the company's fault just doesn't sit right with me.

Reverend Ken said...

I hope the passenger gets the company after he wins HUGE in court.