“So Doctor, how was your flight home?”
Just when you thought you’ve seen it all when it comes to inexplicable incidents, in comes United again to top their leggings fiasco from two weeks ago. Those PR people might want to update their resume after pulling double duty.
You know the deal: United flight (via Republic Airways) from Chicago to Louisville, KY was overbooked, which is common practice because they anticipate dumbasses not showing up. Crew members needed to get Louisville for their route, thus they needed to bump passengers. After they couldn’t get four to take the bait, their computer system picked a doctor to bump. Doctor didn’t budge, so airport security dragged him away while passengers filmed it. Internet, late night talk shows and media goes wild.
Where to begin? Let’s look at the big picture — the flight is only 80 minutes and costs around $210. It’s 4 hours and 40 minutes to drive. Yet, United couldn’t bribe anybody with $1,000 cash,? A Forbes writer made a small fortune ($11K) for her family for choosing not to fly to Florida. Passengers, do you really need to be in Louisville on a Sunday night? BTW, Sundays are a horrible day to fly.
Then, I found several articles advising not to take what the airlines give because you can get more if you’re are randomly bumped. True, but every airline has different policies and situations are different. I got bumped once from Newark to London because the airplane had to be switched and seats were lost. For 40,000 miles, all I had to do was leave out of JFK New York that night and I still kept my Upper Class privileges. Plus, they reimbursed my transport to the airport. So, cash, miles or free flight is whatever you fancy. There’s no right answer.
With all that said, WTF were airport security thinking? The poor doctor isn’t an ISIS operative or a danger to passenger safety. I wondering what United staff and especially the pilot were doing while this was going on. Nobody stepped in to stop this. “Sure, go ahead and drag a paying customer out of our plane.”
Then if things couldn’t get worse for United, CEO Oscar Munoz made a tone-deaf statement:
The problem is that this sounds like it was written by PR from a corporation. In reality, you’re dealing with people who went through a disturbing ordeal that was handled poorly. On top of that, future customers will rethink booking a United flight. I don’t fly United, so eff them.
The lesson for everyone, drive from Chicago to Louisville.