Tuesday, April 11, 2017

United Airlines Passenger Dragged Off Plane

So what happens when an airline decides four of its employees have a seat on a fully booked airplane?  They bump paying passengers.  And, believe it or not, they are within the law. Check the small print on your ticket.

However, yesterday the arrogance of the airline industry fell victim to the ever present smart phone video recording the almost every individual has.

United Airlines needed four seat for THEIR EMPLOYEES who had to be in Louisville, Kentucky, three hundred miles away from the departure point in Chicago.  They offered an incentive of $400 for any passengers willing to give up their seat. No takers.  Then they offered $800. Still no takers. Then they randomly selected PAYING passengers to leave the place to make room for THEIR EMPLOYEES (so much for the "customer comes first" mantra).  

Three PAYING customers got up to leave.  However, the four passenger, a man of Chinese ancestry, refused to leave.  He said he was a doctor and had to be in Louisville the next day. He was on the plane with his wife. 

Since he refused to leave, the airline employee who was in charge, called the airport police to forcibly remove this passenger. The above video shows this outrageous decision on the part of the airline. 

The airport police dragged the screaming passenger out of his seat, hitting his head on an armrest in the process. 

Now the worst part, the CEO of United Airlines defends this outrage blaming the passenger for being "belligerent".  Excuse me? The Chicago police said the passenger "fell" while being "re-accomodated" (a new word for forcibly removing passengers from their paid seat) from the plane.

Folks, I don't travel that much, my last trip being from Los Angeles, but I can tell you that the worst part of my trips are the airlines. I wasn't dragged out of my seat during my last flight but I did have a tough time, both going and returning.  I literally dread the flights as do most people. Something has to be done to stop this outrage and be done now.  This will not stand.  


Larry Meredith said...


Yes, our fares can't be beat...just our customers. There should be a law against overbooking. United is not going to have this go quickly away and it is going to cost them. It is bad enough they overbooked. Its worse that they did this for EMPLOYEES. It is terrible the way they did (and the policeman who dragged him off has already been suspended). And it is worse they did it to a doctor who had to get to the destination to perform an operation (what if the patient dies?) And it makes it even worst for them because they did it to an Asian, so racism can be thrown into the mix. You know who should be suspended to better yet, fired, is the CEO who dared write that stupid letter. None of this was the passenger's fault. United we stand...unless we decide to drag your butt off our plane.


Oliver said...

I just listened to some sort of airline attorney on NPR and she was also shocked by the handling of this matter and stated several laws were broken. Apparently, airlines cannot use moving their staff as "overbooking" for a flight. Also, he was seated on the plane which makes this instance different and their removal makes this assault. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Oh, and the CEO released a new apology! HA! This will be business as usual under the Trump administration.

Ron said...

This is what happens where there is little or no competition. United thinks it can get away with this kind of behavior because where else are customers going to go? The response from the CEO of United Airlines was inexcusable. He had to issue three statement until he finally apologized to the customer his airline brutalized. And this jerk got the best public relations communications reward last year. I'm sure there are many fine employees who work for United Airlines but the fish rots from the head. I still don't think Munuz gets it, he just issued his last statement to try and stop the bleeding of his public relations nightmare.

Ron said...

The CEO has to issue three "apologies" until he finally got it right. He didn't sound sincere, he just said what he had to say to try tamp down his public relations nightmare

Jon said...

I saw this on the news and could hardly believe it - - it is truly shocking. Whatever happened to the good ol' days when airlines had some semblance of dignity? These are Nazi tactics!!!

Ron said...

The airlines have too much power and not enough competition. I understand they want and need safety in flight but this is ridiculous, dragging off a paying passenger on their plane in order to make room for their employees because of overbooking a flight.

Travel said...

I guarantee the third apology, was written by a public relations specialist, with some training on how to apologize (I have completed that training - I am very good at it.) The lack of competition, in large part because of the mega mergers, has resulted in declining "service" with the airlines. I still love to fly.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post, Oliver. I was wondering if they could weasel their way out by saying something along the lines of moving staff is a priority business need that comes before paid passengers. Seems not to be the case. ~ NB

WARPed said...

Apologizing is *much* easier than getting permission!



pat888 said...

Ron - as Jimmy Kimmel says - we'll still use whatever airline as long as it's cheaper. However - I think United will suffer somewhat once the doctor's lawyer gets thru with the case.