United Airlines is not the Devil!

United Airlines is not the Devil but they are not an Angel either!

Ever listen to the Kaskade song, Angel On My Shoulder? Probably not, but it’s the first song that came to mind when I wrote the title for this article.  It doesn’t even sum up this post if you try and relate the lyrics.  I just like it and thought I would share it with you to listen to while you read this post.  

Let me bullet point the United Airlines situation with this passenger they are in so much hot water over.

  • United overbooked their flight.
  • United let passengers board the flight.
  • They then offered to pay passengers to get off the flight.
  • Not enough passengers took the money to make space.
  • They then decided certain passengers had to get off the plane so they could get United employees on the flight.
  • One passenger (David Dao) decided he would not get off the plane.
  • Security personnel from the city of Chicago’s aviation department got on the plane and asked him to get off the plane.
  • David decided he paid for his ticket so he was staying on the plane.
  • He was removed from the plane in an aggressive manner, maybe too aggressive.
  • Cell phones captured the removal and the social media onslaught of United began.

Let me begin by letting you know that I’m not a fan of United Airlines.  In fact, I have complained and avoided using their airline at all costs the past 4 years.  But I’m not made of money so occasionally I still use their flights.  I’ve had positive experiences with them.  Just not as commonly as I have had bad situations with them that were not reconciled to my level of satisfaction. 

United Airlines is responsible in part for this situation.  They could have done more to avoid it, but the reality is the passenger is equally responsible.  As a traveler, I would hope that everyone can learn from this mishap.  The worst thing that can happen is copycat behavior if other travelers feel they can get rich by acting in a similar manner.  Not to mention even more delays!

Dear David Dao, you are not an innocent bystander. United offered you a resolution. One you did not agree to, but was the best you were going to get at the time.  When authorities ask you to leave the plane… you get off the damn plane.  You should receive the maximum amount of money an airline is required by law to reimburse customers bumped off a flight.  However, you should pay all your own medical bills for acting like a toddler at the playground who did not want to leave when his mommy told him it was time to go.

Dear United Airlines, here is a free consultation on how to handle your customers in the future for similar situations:

  1. Never boot off a paying customer for your own staff to fly.  Find other staff members in the next city who can do their job.  We know you have employees all around the country.  Offer them bonuses if necessary to work a shift they did not have scheduled.
  2. If solution one is not an option then keep offering more money, food and accommodations so that passengers willingly remove themselves from the flight. Eventually there will be a price that customers will accept to get off the plane for another flight.  It is not a paying customer’s fault you over sold a flight.  A multibillion dollar company can afford to lose a few thousand dollars to avoid the social media onslaught like you did in this situation.