The recent story of the passenger removed from a United flight to make room for employees is the talk of the water cooler throughout the nation today.
United has doubled down and is sticking to their story the passenger was disruptive and confrontational — and that is why he was removed.
The core issue is common sense did not prevail here. The airline allowed all fare paying passengers to board before deciding it needed to make room for employees. This was their first mistake.
Next — they offered compensation for volunteers and increased the amount until someone decided it was not economical. Since there were no takers, the “computer” would select passengers randomly for eviction. Why the compensation was not increased until volunteers appeared is another lapse in common sense. This was their second mistake.
Forcibly removing a fare paying passenger who has boarded is a blatant mistake.
United is an airline — and has access to an inventory of airplanes and staff. Why additional aircraft were not available is not known. What is known is there is a large oversupply of small aircraft available on the charter and private contract market. Why United did not use these tools available to them is another unknown.
Instead the firm has lost almost half a billion dollars in market capitalization due to their own PR nightmare of their own making.
The video has gone viral, thousands of memes have been created adding fuel to the commentary of the event.
Why the CEO of United has doubled down to ruin their company’s reputation is not written in any management training manual.
When Gordon Bethune ran Continental Airlines — it was a first class company which was loved by customers and employees. I don’t think the same applies here, even though the ancestry of this company is not lost on many.
If you need to transport employees to make your company run — engage in a little planning and creative thinking. You are not limited to one airplane. Ejecting seated and fare paying passengers is not smart.
Non-compliance by a passenger is a real issue, but compensation should have been offered to generate happy volunteers who are willing to give up their seat.
I’m happy I no longer fly on business and when I do fly — I always make sure I fly Southwest. No brag just fact.