United Airlines To Introduce Ancient Roman Practice of Decimation on Overbooked Flights

Decimation. Etching by William Hogarth in Beaver’s Roman Military Punishments (1725)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA — Odds are, this is not the first time you’ve seen United’s name in the press lately.

It probably won’t be the last.

Earlier, the airline made headlines for forcibly dragging a passenger off an overbooked flight. Now, the company is doubling down on a new and improved policy for overbooking — a policy that is being met with skepticism by some.

“There is precedent for decimation,” CEO Oscar Munoz said in a written statement on Friday. “It was common in Ancient Rome to randomly execute 10% of a mutinous legion as a form of discipline. We think this could be a very effective tool in combating overbooking, and we’re confident that we can bring this honored tradition into the 21st century.”

But passengers aren’t convinced.

“They’re just going to kill passengers?” says Nancy Trammel of Yucca Valley, who we’ve caught up with at LAX. She glances around nervously as she waits at gate A6. “I don’t think I believe that.”

A nearby United employee overhears and speaks up without looking up from his computer screen: “Believe it, bitch, and you’re next.”

“Oh goodness, I guess they are doing that,” she says. She laughs. “Oh, I hope it’s not me! Goodness.”

“They can go ahead and try,” says amateur bowhunter Tex McCurdy as he waits for his flight to Tulsa, wearing a cap that reads Don’t Tread On Me. “I pray whenever I get on a plane, ‘Lord, please, just this once, give me the opportunity to smash someone’s brains by crushing their head with the lav door.’ Hasn’t happened yet, but I still have faith. You gotta have faith.”

One thing is certain: no matter your opinion on the controversial new policy, business is brisk.

“It’s Hand-Over-Fist Land over here,” says Munoz in our phone interview, all traces of his written persona absent. “Real Wolf of Wall Street shit goin’ on. I mean — and here it is, really — what the fuck are they gonna do? Do they have airplanes? Fuck no, we’ve got the airplanes. They’re not gonna drive. They’re sure as shit not gonna take the train. Piss off, landbound dicks, you play by our rules and our rules are we’re gonna kill every tenth passenger onboard in the event of overbooking.”

While it’s unclear how exactly the decimations will be carried out, United Research & Development has reportedly discussed many methods, including mid-flight ejection, poisoned pre-flight beverages, and simply locking the doors and letting the passengers carry out the process on their own. One insider source suggests that all of these methods will be available to flight attendants, who will be able to select whichever method they determine to be most effective for the situation.

“No holds barred when it comes to how we kill ’em,” says Munoz. “Sky’s the limit.”