Tuesday, April 11, 2017


Remember this skit on Saturday Night Live?


Apparently, United Airlines not only remembers it but has modeled their customer service policy after it!

Here is the scene Sunday as a man was forcibly removed from the plane by airport security.

After all that, this guy must have brought a bomb on board, right?

No so!

His crime?

He was randomly selected to be ejected after no one nibbled at the $200 voucher offered in exchange for giving up their seat to a UA flight crew who needed transportation.

He refused to leave the seat he'd bought and paid for and was sitting in after following the airlines' established boarding procedure.

In short, he did nothing wrong.

Airlines commonly overbook flights to avoid empty seats, and that dance of offering vouchers to people willing to be bumped happens all the time, but usually the airline keeps sweetening the deal until people cave.

Except for the unfriendly skies of United.

To make matters worse, United gives their employees priority over paying customers.

It seems to me that United is at fault in three ways-

THEY overbooked the light

THEY failed to offer adequate incentive for people to volunteer to give up their seat

THEY failed to have a contingency plan for getting their flight crew where they need to be without cheating their paying customer base.

The good news is their shares dropped, wiping out about $255 million in their market capital (Warren Buffet's share of that was $24M).

Hopefully people will have long memories and boycott the airline so the stock market (which often has a short memory) keeps on punishing them.

Apparently the video is causing them problems in other markets as well-in China, where UA dervies over $2 billion in revenue annually, the video has gone viral.

I have listened to a couple of the videos posted by passengers, and heard a few saying that the man was given a bloody lip (they said "busted lip") by security.

Would we treat an Islamic terrorist this poorly? 

Kind of makes you want to take the train, huh?


  1. Did you see some of the follow up stories that emerged? Like, the first class customer who was forced out of his seat, after already boarding, because another first class customer had arrived to the airport late and he was "more important"? It just didn't become national headlines at the time because the guy didn't fight back.


    I've seen people defending this, saying that it's outlined clearly in the policy and that they technically did nothing wrong. That as a business they reserve the right to choose who flies and who doesn't. But my thought is this: if your policy results in a man getting bloodied up and forcibly chucked off a plane, then your policy is wrong, and you're an asshole. And if you keep doing this to people, they're not going to fly with you for much longer, regardless of how much you think you're in the "right".

  2. Wow-unreal! Can you imagine being told "someone is more important than you?"

    How sad that United can't even train their staff how to screw people over without rubbing their noses in it!

    Hopefully people choose other airlines-that's the only way the message will get across.