One thing I love about social media is the smart, clever funny people on it who can give a solid burn where necessary. The huge companies trying to get out of sticky situations or outrun scandal cannot escape being pilloried by social media. It is a great leveller.
In this case, United Airlines is trying to outrun a PR disaster caused by an incident having been filmed which shows disgraceful behaviour on the part of the airline and law enforcement.
Airlines usually knowingly overbook flights because they know passengers sometimes don’t turn up. It guarantees a) more money and b) full flights. If all the passengers do turn up, people are offered money or vouchers to take later flights. In this case the passengers were all boarded but UA wanted four paying passengers to give up their places for four non-payingcrew members who needed to travel elsewhere for a flight.
No one volunteered, despite being offered money, so UA forced four people to leave. One man refused to give up his seat so they physically and violently dragged him off the flight. The man in question was a 69-year old doctor who had patients to see. The violence in this film is too awful for words. This was a PAYING passenger who refused to ‘volunteer’ to leave.
According to the airline he was ‘disruptive’ and ‘he fell’, but thanks to social media and passengers who filmed it from several different angles, you can see that it was not quite that way. I hope he sues the pants off the airline!
So, after United Airlines blaming the customer and saying that he was being ‘re-accommodated’, Twitter went wild…