What an amazingly shocking turn of events today, with a United Airlines flight being overbooked and a passenger forcibly removed from the plane. In addition to being dragged by airport security, he was bloodied, injured heavily, and may have suffered a concussion. But wait, there’s more!
United CEO Oscar Munoz addressed the incident in an email to employees, blaming the passenger. Additionally, a few Democrats in Congress and Senate have called for an inquiry or hearing into the situation.
United Airlines Doubles Down
Even after the unfortunate euphemism of “re-accommodation”, United CEO Oscar Munoz doubled down on his position. He supports his employees, who forcibly removed and injured a passenger who paid for his ticket. He claims that employees “followed established procedures” and called the passenger “disruptive and belligerent”. Not only was the passenger dragged off the plane, he was also severely injured. He may have had a concussion, and was bleeding profusely. What an example of customer service.
I don’t know what world he lives in, but with all the poor PR responses to incidents I have seen this may take the case. I’m not sure where United thinks removing a paying customer forcibly is a good move, but it surely will cost them thousands if not hundreds of thousands in lost revenue and business, and certainly encourage many to think critically before using them for travel.
Government Weighs In
However, a couple Democrats, including a senior member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, have called for a hearing to question airport personnel and police, as well as United Airlines about the incident.
Senator Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, similarly tweeted about Airline Passenger Protections for travelers.
If these will actually lead to an inquiry or hearing is another story, as Republicans control the majority in the House and Senate, and thus set the rules. Why no Congressional Republican has not commented publicly, or on behalf of the injured passenger, is intriguing, but not up for discussion.
It will be interesting to see if this actually comes to pass – I would love to see such a hearing. Reforms are necessary, and perhaps this incident leads to tighter regulation.
Stay tuned for updates in this developing story – it is an interesting one to follow. I sincerely hope some positive resolution and restitution is reached for the injured passenger. I have yet to experience voluntary or involuntary deplaning, as my flights aren’t as full. However, I would usually jump for a chance for a voucher. Of course, that also assumes the amount is high enough and my trip is not as essential. Lastly, I sincerely hope that the four United Airlines crew who got on that plane think about their actions. Were they worth the firestorm that is still growing?
Have you been deplaned involuntarily or given compensation? Let me know in the comments!
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