Does United look at pedigree and income as part of assessing who to boot? Apparently not. Someone in coach class is coach class. What they are anywhere else is immaterial. Even doctors can buy cheap seats; in which case, they’re cheap seaters, regardless of whether they could afford to pay more.
That’s one of the ways class works. It’s not always about money. In this case it’s about treatment of someone who isn’t in First/Business class; who isn’t designated as privileged according to bonus programmes and the like.
The good doctor probably could have bought his way into a privileged class — but that misses the point. The person in his seat was going to be booted regardless, and this doctor objected. He may have naively thought that people in cattle class have the same prerogatives as people in the higher classes. But the airline showed him a thing or two about speaking out of turn. Had he just figured out his place in the order of things, he’d have opted for the higher class or left the plane peacefully.
People in the lower classes don’t have two options. They can’t afford to speak up for themselves, can’t afford to fight back. That’s the inequality income creates. One option for the lower classes, multiple options for others.