I know the United Airlines debacle a few days ago has received a lot of exposure, but at the risk of adding to it, have you ever seen anything that even approaches the level of corporate stupidity displayed?
You might think that after the lesson of breaking Dave Carrolls guitar, which he has turned into an industry, they would have done a little bit of introspection, but it seems not.
Instead, they overbook a flight, pretty standard practice to maximise bums on seats, but then when all the passengers inconveniently turn up, they resort to aggressively dragging some poor buggar, nominated by an unlucky dip, off the plane.
Then to make it worse, they set out to brush it aside in their public statements.
‘Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked. After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate. We apologize for the overbook situation. Further details on the removed customer should be directed to authorities.”
What they should have said was something like: ‘if you are dumb enough to try and fly with us, you get what you deserve.’ At least it would have been honest.
Of course, the headline assumes United has a brand that means something of value to some, which is perhaps a brave assumption. It is probable that already the only reason you would book with them in the hope that they might get you to a destination safely, and on time, was because they were the cheapest. This is the only way I can conceive they could sell a seat.
If there is a bright side for travellers it is that should you choose to book a seat on a United flight from here on, it is pretty certain that the one next to you will be unoccupied.
As another piece of good news, the bloke they removed probably has a huge retirement pack on the way, assuming there is any left after the lawyers picnic.