The Woes of United Airlines

The Woes of United Airlines

Regular readers of this column know I have bitched about United Airlines on a few occasions.  The last substantive article was written when Jeff Smisek was forced to leave the company for what amounted to influence peddling.  You can find that article here:

In that article, I made the point that since the merger with Continental, United has gone into the toilet.  I wrote that article about 18 months ago.  I’m sorry to say things are no better now.  In fact, after the incident earlier this week, they are much worse.

Unless you’ve been living in a rabbit hole, I’m sure you know about the incident.  An Asian Doctor was forcibly ejected from a plane because of overbooking.  However, it was not just overbooking.  He was ejected to accommodate United crew.  Why? They had to be at another airport.  If that wasn’t bad enough, he was ejected brutally.  In case you haven’t seen the video, here it is:

Make sure you watch it until the end.  It is brutal and un-called for.  In fact, it’s down right disgusting.  I don’t know whether the blame belongs to United or the Chicago police,  But, someone should hang over this.  And, after the last few hours, I know who.

United Airlines Response

Then to make matters worse, Jeff Smisek’s replacement as CEO, Oscar Munoz, didn’t help.  When issuing a statement about the event, he said the following:

What kind of stupidity is this?  This man was not re-accommodated.  This man was assaulted.  And, for no reason whatsoever other than to accommodate a United crew.  Oscar Munoz should be ashamed of himself.  He then made matters worse, if you can believe, when he issued the letter to United employees:

“Dear Team, Like you, I was upset to see and hear about what happened last night aboard United Express Flight 3411 headed from Chicago to Louisville. While the facts and circumstances are still evolving, especially with respect to why this customer defied Chicago Aviation Security Officers the way he did, to give you a clearer picture of what transpired, I’ve included below a recap from the preliminary reports filed by our employees.

“As you will read, this situation was unfortunately compounded when one of the passengers we politely asked to deplane refused and it became necessary to contact Chicago Aviation Security Officers to help. Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this.

“While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right. I do, however, believe there are lessons we can learn from this experience, and we are taking a close look at the circumstances surrounding this incident.

“Treating our customers and each other with respect and dignity is at the core of who we are, and we must always remember this no matter how challenging the situation.


The Backlash

Again, I ask:  what kind of stupidity is this?  Nowhere is there an apology.  Nowhere is any remorse.  Instead, he commends the employees for handling this according to procedure?  Does he even have a clue the damage done to United Airlines over this?.

Well here is some proof of the damage.  As of 2:00pm on April 11, United Stock is down 2.7%.  That is more than 600 million dollars off the company’s net worth.  I only wish I got up early enough to short the stock.

The board of directors of United Airlines must act quickly.  They have no choice.  They need to immediately fire Oscar Munoz as quickly as they did to Jeff Smisek.  Munoz proved, he could not respond in a manner to show concern for the passengers.  Secondly, they need to go on a public relations blitz.  They need to do this in the same way BP did after the Deep Water Horizon disaster.  And, they need to immediately do something to make it right with the passenger.

If they do not act quickly, United Airlines will be in big trouble in the future.   The public will revolt.  It’s already started.  Just look at Facebook and the news channels.  The hatred of United Airlines is now bigger than the hatred of President Trump by the left.

As for me, I will continue to fly United for the reasons stated in my prior article.  Being a million mile flyer puts me in a weird situation.  I do not pay for baggage.  I sit in Economy Plus for free and get upgraded regularly to business class.  Accordingly, I will put up with this mess.  But, I’m not happy.  And, neither is anyone else in the world.

Of course, I will fly Star Alliance partners whenever I can instead.  It’s the least I can do.  And, for others, here are some rights you have on airlines.  Read it and learn:

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2 Responses to "The Woes of United Airlines"

  1. This is a very well written analysis. And I should leave it there. Our society is not sophisticated enough to entertain two legal complexities at once. The sour comments about Trump’s retaliation for war crimes in Syria is a prima fascia case.

    Nuremberg Trials defined the extent to which the “rule of law” must be questioned. Martin Luther King seems to have corner the argument of “social justice” denied is no justice at all.

    Where and how this battle is fought, “by what means”, is central to the difference between Anarchy and Order.

    While the history of that flight passenger is not material to a trial, it is important to understanding where our culture fails in shouldering responsibility for our heightened responsibility over instant gratification. Research his legal background. Social behavior can be tied, to some extent, to cultural moral values. If you are educated and behave think an anarchist, you are likely to behave that way. Bill Ayers is a reported anarchist who demonstrates the wrong way to achieve social justice in our culture, in our fallible noble nation.

    Martin Luther King’s way was the way, the only way short of fighting tyranny. If we disagree on this, then, we agree to disagree, and the discussion is stalemated.

    Emotion is often the enemy of rationality. The Eric Gardner case is a good example, on the one side, of the argument of overwhelming force to ensure enforcement and mitigate issues getting “out of control”. On the other side, letting events deteriorate into anarchy is far worse, generally, than the salve of perceived reparations.

    The concept of “tough love” is not beyond this discussion. The discipline of law and order is absolutely necessary over pandering to irrational reactions to perceived, or even true, social injustice. Justice in the hands of individuals is often vigilante. It must be left to the courts. If we embrace the mantra of judge and jury, we lose. This passenger did just that.

    Eric Garner was a sad case of social conditioning, lack of personal discipline, and the unwillingness to obey the law, of society not willing to put a certain weighted proportion of responsibility onto “we the people”.

    To understand the point being made here visit the “War on Cops”, by author Heather Mac Donald, pgs,5-6, 31-32, 131, 232.

    This United Airlines episode all starts with a legal request, however disappointing, inconvenient, and exacerbated by resisting the law of the skies.

    Any good lawyer would win the Trump’s bombing of Syria on primarily emotional grounds. Who can excuse killing babies…..except when it comes to Planned Parenthood! This should crack the glass ceiling of false rigidity and hypocrisy here.

    Now, please understand. If I were on that jury, should it come to that, United Airlines would lose, for I believe in “Jury Nullification”, else do away with jury trials, but the compensation would be proportional, thought provoking and not irrational. Let the ticket paying public make the proper statement.

    Resisting bad laws, or the bad enforcement of legal laws is moral and material, but the airlines own the “control in” the airways like a captain owns his ship’s territorial imperative. A plaintiff’s resistance is done in court, by congress and with our elections, not on the battle field of anarchy.

    This is the fundamental legal basis for the added charge of “resisting arrest”. All that happens afterward is largely in the court of mitigated “justice”, detrimental to the defendant.

    Our lives are consumed with inconveniences for the sake of law and order. This is not a worthy candidate for Martin Luther King’s “civil disobedience”.

  2. Munoz came on the TV this morning and for the first time appeared contrite. Maybe, he learned something. I only hope that if he survives this, he must understand the passenger (customer) is the boss. United was wrong and will pay the price. But, maybe this will cause them to start treating people like humans instead of cattle.


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