I'd agree with this:  this PR disaster will be famous for decades, used in college classes for discussions of what not to do, like the Denver airport luggage system from the 90's, replacing Intel's math coprocessor debacle.

It'll be in standup comedy and memes.

Can't believe how quickly people posted photoshopped pics and professional-looking videos to skewer United.

Feel free to talk about the actual event, of course, but the corporate culture that led to the official reaction (and the event itself!) is what interests me.  How common is it?

(The video here is mostly satirical and not violent, despite the frame showing when it's not playing.)

Wife's finding stuff on her feed like:  Southwest -- we beat the competition, not the customers!

This pic's the one that's really going to get them, though, I think.  Even more than dragging the apparently unconscious body down the aisle:

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One indication of it being a corporate culture problem: United threatens to cuff a first-class passenger who paid $1000 if he won't be bumped to economy for a more important passenger that wants his seat.  Article's drenched in bias, but it did have specifics.


United didn't do that to him. The Chicago Department of Aviation did.

Although blown way out of proportion and United will ultimately pay the price, the passenger was required to leave the plane and refused to do so. Granted, this should have been handled differently, but United only drew the guys name, among 3 others that we haven't heard a peep out of mind you...

The biggest impact is predicted to come from China where United has a huge market share. The State run airline is already preparing their propaganda and the video has exploded in China, this morning it was in the 120 million view range or something crazy. One guy reported it was being viewed 10's of millions of times per hour in China, and no sign of it dying down. The Chinese were viewing it as a racial issue as I heard it...

Sadly for United - there are specific reasons they can force a person to leave a plane, and this was not one. This action of theirs should have been handled *before* boarding. Once they are in their seats, United's options are more limited. 

And while yes, the "Chicago Dept of Aviation" dragged him out, the reason they were there in the first place was United's request. 

Ultimately, they screwed up on this one, and they deserve the hit they'll take for it. The CEO's tone deaf victim blaming public statements only compounded the problem. 

Here is one legal breakdown from an attorney friend. 

"First of all, it's airline spin to call this an overbooking. The statutory provision granting them the ability to deny boarding is about " OVERSALES", specifically defines as booking more reserved confirmed seats than there are available. This is not what happened. They did not overbook the flight; they had a fully booked flight, and not only did everyone already have a reserved confirmed seat, they were all sitting in them. The law allowing them to denying boarding in the event of an oversale does not apply.

Even if it did apply, the law is unambiguously clear that airlines have to give preference to everyone with reserved confirmed seats when choosing to involuntarily deny boarding. They have to always choose the solution that will affect the least amount of reserved confirmed seats. This rule is straightforward, and United makes very clear in their own contract of carriage that employees of their own or of other carriers may be denied boarding without compensation because they do not have reserved confirmed seats. On its face, it's clear that what they did was illegal-- they gave preference to their employees over people who had reserved confirmed seats, in violation of 14 CFR 250.2a.

Furthermore, even if you try and twist this into a legal application of 250.2a and say that United had the right to deny him boarding in the event of an overbooking; they did NOT have the right to kick him off the plane. Their contract of carriage highlights there is a complete difference in rights after you've boarded and sat on the plane, and Rule 21 goes over the specific scenarios where you could get kicked off. NONE of them apply here. He did absolutely nothing wrong and shouldn't have been targeted. He's going to leave with a hefty settlement after this fiasco."

Well that's good to hear. Out of all the reporting and statements by lawyers surrounding this instance, this is the only one I've heard interpreted this way. Every other reading lands in favor of United, and these aren't lawyers for united.

Glad to hear a reading that finally did come down in favor of the customer. I imagine we haven't heard the last of this, and I'll be interested to hear how it lands when it goes to court, because no doubt it will...

Thanks for posting here what your friend has stated.

Information is cool.

I have intentionally not followed the politics of this. However it does give opportunity for humor.

Jimmy Kimmel; the video trashing United starts around 4:12.


I note that United apologized as soon almost as soon as it hit the Net -- but what an "apology"!  "I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers."  


Already it's down to "you toucha da car, I re-accommodate ya face."


I'd forgotten:  they also destroyed a musician's $1200 guitar by throwing it and refused to pay... so the musician wrote a song "United Breaks Guitars." Leggings incident.  Can anybody recall a PR snafu for another airline in this time frame?  Sounds like United's had a problem for a while.

After losing about a billion dollars in stock value in one day, the CEO's recognizing they do have a problem, and promising a review "so this will never happen again."

Just for you, PH.

That's the best one yet.

Carl's Corollary is brilliant. Makes perfect sense for this situation.


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