I tried to resist writing anything about what I believe to be a massively overblown story, but we’re on day 2 now and still people won’t stop talking about it. I feel as though I have been beaten into submission, much like the passenger himself, so here’s my take on this ridiculous issue. I know it will run afoul of the Outrage Mob because it isn’t quite outragey enough, but I can only call it as I see it: United was wrong, but not that wrong, and the passenger who behaved like a hysterical toddler was at least as wrong as them. And I say this, by the way, as someone who considers United to be the third worst company in America (behind Planned Parenthood and Comcast).
Let’s try to look at this situation rationally. Everyone is saying that United overbooked the flight. They didn’t. Not exactly, anyway. They just needed to make room for another crew that had to get down to Louisville in order to work another flight. Should that crew have taken a different plane? Well, if they’d done that then the flight they were supposed to work might have been delayed, and hundreds of people would be delayed along with it, and many of them would then miss connections, and they would all be complaining on Twitter, too. Should hundreds of people including the crew be inconvenienced or should four passengers on that flight be inconvenienced? The choice seems obvious to me. United, in my estimation, was not wrong for trying to, as they call it, “re-accommodate” some passengers, given the situation. They were just wrong in how they handled it, but not quite as wrong as everyone is saying.
So, how should it have been handled? Well, if I’m backseat driving this situation, after it’s all said and done, I’d say they should have offered free tickets or vouchers or whatever, which they did, but they should have offered them before the flight boarded, which they didn’t do. That was the mistake they made. Putting that aside though, what are they supposed to do when nobody wants the vouchers? I’ve heard it suggested that they ought to have continued upping their offer. Well, do they have that authority? Can the crew on the ground just continue increasing the cash offer like it’s casino night on Flight 3411? I don’t know the answer to that question, but my assumption is that they have only a limited authority to negotiate terms. The Outrage Mob has suggested that they could have dangled 5 or 10 thousand dollars as an incentive, which makes me wonder if anyone in the Outrage Mob has ever worked for a company before. Most employees don’t have the power to throw around that kind of money.
What next? Well, we’ve already established that they screwed up by not doing this before the flight boarded. But now that it is boarded, and they have too many passengers and not enough seats, and nobody on the plane wants to take the voucher and the hotel they put up for grabs, what then? As I’ve already stated, if they don’t get the other crew on the plane, it could well set off a chain reaction that would inconvenience far more people — and besides, do the people on the ground have the authority to tell the other crew that they have to wait for the next plane? Probably not. In fact, I’m going to say definitely not. It seems they really had to kick people off the plane. That’s pretty lame and I would be super ticked if it were me, but I get it. I understand why they did it. Everyone is acting like they can’t even begin to understand the position the airline employees were in, but I do. I might be the only person in the world who does, but I do. As I said, they did obviously make some mistakes here, but for God’s sake, people, this isn’t quite as straightforward as everyone suggests. Let’s be reasonable. Nobody else in this situation was, after all.
And what about the sainted doctor? Was he completely innocent here? Does he carry no burden of responsibility for his own reaction? I get why the guy refused to leave, but it is their plane. He doesn’t actually have the legal authority to not leave the pane when he’s told to leave. I understand registering some kind of protest, but you can’t declare absolute ownership over the seat you’re sitting in. You rent the seat on an airplane, for a limited time, and there is a ton of fine print that makes it pretty clear that the seat can be taken for pretty much any reason. Maybe it shouldn’t say that, but it does. Maybe that shouldn’t be the policy, but it is.
And if I’m a United employee in this position, I’m not going to risk my job and cause a domino effect of missed flights just for the sake of this one guy who doesn’t really have the authority or the right to do what he’s doing. I think you have a moral obligation to disobey orders if the orders constitute some sort of grave violation of someone’s human rights, but does rebooking someone on another flight fall under that umbrella? Is it the kind of moral quandary that would cause you to sacrifice your job so that you may stand hand in hand with the courageous hero in seat 12D who won’t get off the plane? I wouldn’t see it that way. I would probably do exactly what the United employees did. I would have told him: “Listen, I’m sorry, but you need to get off the plane or I’ll have to get security.”
In any case, what if the crew does decide to flout company policy and say, “OK, this guy refuses, let’s kick somebody else off”? Why should the next person leave willingly? And why should the first three people have left willingly? After the other passengers see the dude say no, now they’ll all say no, since that apparently is an option. What then? Does the Outrage Mob have an answer? And saying, “Well, they shouldn’t have overbooked,” isn’t an answer. That part is done. The situation is what it is now, so what do you do? I can’t really think of a better answer than following protocol and alerting security.
It is best when confronted with a person that has POLICE sign across the back of their jacket to comply. Now everyone knows the good doctor is a perv.
Um, how does one see “Police” on the back of a person facing you?
You really are dumb as a box of rocks.
Now everyone knows you are a damn c&%*suker.
Start with the last 4 to book leave first.
The crew and the police spent over an hour trying to get the man to leave peacefully. What option did the crew have once the decision had been made. A ‘supposedly’ mature adult was told he had to leave the plane. He chose to act like a child, or worse. The police instructed the man, lawfully, to leave the plane, he refused. I think he was treated fairly kindly for someone acting as immature as he did. Yes, he’s a perv and a criminal. Trading prescription drugs to another male for sex. Breaking the law many times in the process. A 69 year old medical doctor should have acted much more mature than he did. The plane was scheduled to leave at 3, the incident happened after 6 pm. They spent a lot of time ‘being nice to him’. This person was the last passenger booked for the flight.
@PhilllipMarlowe: Who is Dumb They chatted quite awhile with Dr. feelgood dont you think that they were security officers came up in the conversation moron? They dont go to a disturbance alone there was more than 1. The internet is a cruel place someone with a record like his should keep a low profile. If you would have bothered to look at all it has been splashed everywhere what his crime was, At least I am an entire box of rocks, stoner.
Drug use, fraudulent prescriptions, sexual misconduct with patients, sexual harassment, anger management, corrective action due to disruptive behavior and anger issues, and license suspension!
This guy had issues before he refused to leave.
Surely United isn’t the only carrier out of that airport. United should have just booked their standby crew on another airline…. and don’t call me Shirley. 😀
How about “The customer comes first”? Sure, before boarding you have a bit more leeway, but once the passenger is on the plane, unless he is drunk or has a weapon on him, he flies, unless he volunteers otherwise.
Conking him on the head and dragging him up the aisle like a sack of potatoes is just SO far out of the realm of reasonable business practices as to be unheard of. I suppose such things might have happened on Aeroflot during the communist era, but here?
United CEO Oscar Munoz on extended apology tour, as he should be, after his original comments–UAL better get out their checkbook–settlement will be 7 figures. They were required to give passenger a WRITTEN statement explaining reasons for his ouster–yank him out on his back??
RT The doctor’s, alleged by you, personal problems? Irrelevant to his forcible removal.
@Jim S: Jim, also, it is a 5 hour drive. Not that bad.
It seems like the much simpler approach would be:
“Okay folks, we need to free up 4 seats. It’s very simple. This plane will not budge until 4 passengers have volunteered to deplane. As passengers, it is in your hands as to whether this will be a 3 minute delay, or a 3 hour delay. Thank you.”
Within 10 minutes of sitting and waiting, among even the most stubborn set of passengers, a collective realization will settle in: “Wow. Nobody is budging. If this keeps up, I’m going to miss my connecting flight… but if I’m one of the first 4 to volunteer, I’ll look like a hero and get a voucher.”
and if they say NO?
then you offer them a sh!tload of money?
and if they say NO?
and then you offer them another sh!tload of money?
and if they say NO?
give us your wisdom, oh yee that can’t spell his first name correctly.
You do know that he made the first physical attack with the police officers, right?
they asked him to leave, started to reach to assist him, he started flailing his arms to resist them. then hit his own head on an armrest and knocked himself unconscious (if he was actually unconscious) What other choice did they have to get him off the plane?
Note: they actually dragged him down the aisle like the sack of excrement he is.
Doctor Dildo better hope he doesn’t get me on the jury, he’ll have to pay the airline.
Tell us Rich, how would you have gotten him off the plane, assuming he clearly wasn’t going to leave under his own power, and the police, correctly, asked him to come with them. Seems as if he’s due some jail time for failing to comply with the police and striking a police officer while in the performance of his duties. So impart your wisdom Richie. Tell us how you would have gotten him off the plane with the facts facing you that 1. he wasn’t interested in money, 2. he wasn’t interested in obeying the police officer. So what’s; the next step Richie?
@Kevin Kirkpatrick: Good sense of humor Kevin:
uh, and miss my connecting flight.
but I’ll agree, that approach would likely have worked, or if you only got three then you could have said, the next one to volunteer will get a hotel room, a first class ticket for next flight and $500 cash. They would likely have had a stampede.
But once they got to where they were, and the police officer said ‘come with me, sir’ his only choice at that point was to comply or attempt further negotiations. Swinging your arms and hitting the police officer was NOT a good choice.
I’m surprised so many Dimocraps think hitting the police officer was a good idea.
it was scheduled to leave at 3, it left after 6.
His problems were not alleged by me, they were alleged by the police and the state board regulating doctors in his state. Turns out he was trading drugs for gay sex with patients. Nice guy?
Careful there Kitt, Richie thinks he was Mr. Niceguy, see his praising him in comment 8 above.
Something in the doctor’s past lessens the wrongness of how he was treated by United Airlines? That’s becoming a predictable response on the right, these days.
Crucified man had prior run-in with authorities
He is/was a pervert. Yes that’s germaine. I don’t see where he was treated wrongly. In fact, he should be apologizing for making an ass of himself in public and delaying the take off for all his fellow passengers.
I notice you didn’t take on the challenge of saying how YOU would have taken care of getting someone off of an airplane when he is determined to not get off. Let’s hear it.
While your link might be humorous to non Christians (most Dimocraps) it bears little resemblance to truth. For example, Jesus wasn’t a homosexual, he wasn’t a thief, and contrary to the article, he did have a job. Metaphors are only funny if they bear some resemblance to the truth.
@Redteam: Seems the fact this guy may be gay–did you see his gorgeous daughter?–has got you riled up–as usual.
Requirement is to present to him, in writing, the reason he’s being asked to leave. UAL didn’t do that–they broke the law in his very forceful removal.
Money offered to get off–how much $500-$1000? How much will they offer him now 1 mill-5 mill?
Hell he may own UAL by the time the lawyers are finished.