Plenty of Blame in the United Debacle

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comI normally agree with the adage about there being no such thing as bad publicity, but this whole United Airlines story is putting that to the test.

By now, you’ve seen the video of the passenger being dragged off of the plane by airport security from an overbooked United flight.

It’s not a good look for the airline. Plus, it has turned into a viral social media disaster, as so many things do these days. 

I think the blame is pretty widespread in this situation.

Let’s start with the obvious.

The flight was overbooked by four passengers. It doesn’t do me much good to know that a company responsible for flying around a 200-ton chunk of steel is incapable of selling the same number of tickets for which it has seats.

This seems to be a pretty easy fix. If the 16-year-old ticket taker down at the Cinema Eight can figure it out, the third largest airline in the world should be able to do the same.

In my opinion, the next gaffe occurred when the people at the gate failed to realize the number of people waiting to fly outnumbered the seats on the plane. They never should have boarded the plane until they had bumped the extra four.

I’ve been in countless airport terminals where the airline paid people to give up their seat.

In this situation, United offered the passengers $1,000 and a hotel room to fly later. Don’t offer me $1,000 and a night in the pizza capital of the world unless you’re serious about it.

The flight was going to Louisville — Louisville, for heaven’s sake, not Maui. I’m sure Louisville is a fabulous place, but I’ve been not going for years for free. I would gladly not go for $1,000.

Back in March, United came under fire for barring two teenage girls from flying because the leggings they were wearing were determined by the gate agent to be inappropriate.

It seems United needs to fire some of their fashion police officers and replace them with a couple of adolescent ticket takers.

Apparently, when no one volunteered to leave the plane, the airline randomly chose four people. The first three — begrudgingly I’m sure — left. It was the guy who became the star of the show who refused.

Then, the same brainiacs who can’t count called security.

I can hear the flight attendant now.

“Ladies and gentlemen, in a moment, a police officer will board the aircraft and drag this man, kicking and screaming, up the aisle. In anticipation of this event, please take out your mobile devices, enable your camera and press the record button.”

Here’s the deal: if I’m in that situation, I’m taking it as a sign that God is telling me, “Get off the plane, take the money and go grab yourself a Cinnabon, because I’m pretty sure that’s Eddie Van Halen over there in line for one.” 

Since no one is saying this aloud, I will. I truly think the guy should’ve gotten off the plane when his name was called.

When he refused, United should’ve shut down the flight, invited everyone off the plane and tried again tomorrow.

In hindsight, it’s pretty obvious making a hundred people mad would’ve been the better choice.

Oh, wait. The flight was cancelled anyway. I’m not sure why, but it may have had something to do with the fact that the passengers and crew watched a future billionaire get dragged off of the plane.

The incident did serve one purpose, though. Nobody is talking about the Pepsi ad anymore.

About Barry Currin

Barry tries to be funny and poignant, and he's usually satisfied when he succeeds with one or the other. (Being both is awesome. And sometimes that happens.) Email him:

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