Just read this, which goes with the video.
Quick summary: a United flight supervisor came on board a sold-out flight and demanded that four seated passengers leave the plane so four United employees could take their seats. Four passengers were chosen at random, and one, an older man, refused. Police were called and he was beaten and forced off the plane.
It’s hard to type with all these brains from my head explosion on the keyboard, but…
1. No business that treats customers like this deserves to stay in business.
2. Any solution would have been better. Anything. Charter a flight for the United employees. Pay 10,000 bucks per passenger as incentive. Offer a lifetime ticket. That the united employees couldn’t come up with a less abusive and disrupting solution shows terrible training, terrible judgment, and a terrible corporate culture.
3. I am stunned that no passenger, when the older man who refused to go began to be abused by the police, stepped forward to take his place. I would think that would be an obvious response. Can we all pledge here and now that before someone is dragged screaming of a flight we are on, we’ll step forward and give up our seats?
4. I have to travel a lot for my business, but I will move heaven and earth not to have anything to do with United.
5. The carrier should pay dearly for this. It is inexcusable.
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And this, from Hit and Run at Reason:
While United’s customer service policies in this case are clearly heinous and absurd, let’s not forget to also cast blame on the police officers who actually committed the brutality on United’s behalf. NPR reports that the cops attacking the man “appear to be wearing the uniforms of Chicago aviation police.”
While there may be something to be said for the ability for private businesses to summon the help of the police to remove people from their premises if they refuse to leave peacefully and their presence is unwanted, there is no excuse for the police to cooperate when the reason their presence is unwanted is not “causing a disturbance” or being violent or threatening to other customers, or stealing goods or services, or doing anything wrong at all, but rather wanting to peacefully use the service they legitimately paid for.
Shame on both United for calling the cops on a passenger to make the lives of their employees and business easier, and shame on the police for having any part of it.
[UPDATE: According to A.P., others may agree with the above; “Chicago aviation department says officer involved in dragging man off United flight placed on leave,” A.P. tweets.]