Unless you’ve been living under a rock during the last two days, you’ve probably heard the news about the passenger being physically dragged off a United flight on Sunday.  So many things had to go wrong for this to happen, so let’s take a look at the facts.

Timeline of Events

  • The United flight, departing from Chicago O’hare to Louisville, Kentucky had already started boarding passengers when four United employees presented themselves at the gate, claiming they had to be on this flight in order to be in Louisville for a flight the next day.
  • United gate personnel then started asking for volunteers to stay overnight in Chicago and take a different flight Monday afternoon.  The going rate only got up to $1000, which no one took, before United claims they randomly selected four people to be forcibly bumped from this flight.  Three passengers left without incident; one did not.  And this is where everything went horribly wrong.
  • The passenger was asked to leave.  He did get belligerent, understandably so since he was sitting in a seat he paid for and was already sitting in.  Then security was called to manhandle him out of the seat, hitting his head on the armrest and dragging him down the aisle.
  • Passengers filmed the incident from various views and were visibly upset.  Children were crying.  Somehow the bloodied passenger appeared back on the plane, but did not stay on the plane.
  • The four United employees took their seats and the flight took off two hours late.

Who was Really in Charge?

The series of events for the horrible treatment of a human being is just not because of one person.  Where was the Captain?  The Flight Attendants? Gate Personnel? Head of Security?  Did this poor man get medical help as blood was dripping down his face?

I have even more questions.  Why is the bad planning of getting these four United employees to their destination more important than that of the revenue generating passengers who depend on United to get them to their destination?  Think about how you book your travel – you look through the available flights and pick the flight that works best for your schedule.  You assume that if you show up at the right gate on time, get on the plane and sit in your seat, you are going to get to your destination. Sure, there are problems with weather altering plans, but this was not that situation.

Now let’s talk about the CEO’s response:

United

Whut?

That is the worst ‘apology’ in the history of apologies.

I live in the Houston area and United has been my airline of choice, but I am so disappointed in how this entire event was handled.  Ever heard the term ‘throw some money at the problem’?  Gate personnel could have gone higher than $1000 before booting passengers off of this flight.  Easily.  And I guarantee someone would have taken a higher number.  The amount of bad press that this incident is causing will cost the airline way more than what it would have cost to accomplish getting their employees where they needed to be without bashing someone’s head in.

Leggings-Gate

This comes right on the heels of the Leggings fiasco, which was so stupid and honestly actually not United’s fault, but also could have been managed much better.  Family members who are flying on non-revenue tickets do have to adhere to a dress code.  These were just not random teenagers.

United Airlines, are you listening?