Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Beating a Dead....Whatever

Okay, in case you were on another planet for Easter week, you certainly know all about this story.   This is United Air Lines' nightmare, but a comedy writer's dream.   You've no doubt seen the jokes like the one above.

"Southwest:  We beat the competition, not you."

"Fly the Unfriendly Skies of United." 

Or this visual...
Yep, if this was your week to buy United stock, well......

So, there's lots and lots going on with this story.  First things first, there is no way in Hell that this should have happened to any passenger on any airline.  No way, no how.


As we learn more about the unlucky passenger, Dr. David Dao, I'd like to state emphatically that, if somebody had to have this shit kicked out of him, it was this piece of crap.   Have you read his backstory?  Medical licenses revoked repeatedly for inappropriate use of his prescription pad.   Trading OxyContin for blow jobs and other sexual favors.  A jerk that, while he didn't deserve this treatment, merited the sucker punches anyway.  Sadly, as much of a lowlife that he is, this shithead will wind up with millions and millions of dollars.

Now, as much as I have flown over the past two decades, I myself, as an exclusive American Airlines million mile flyer, have never witnessed such a catastrophe in person.   Oh, sure, I always hear the announcements before you board for oversold flights.   But I've never seen anybody forcibly removed from the aircraft.   And I wonder how I would react if the computer metrics had randomly selected me like they chose this David Dao asshole.

Hmmm.  I hear my father's voice from years ago.   As soon as I became a teenager and started to drive, my dad gave me words of advice that I have adhered to for life.

"If police or the authorities ever tell you to do something, you do it.  You don't argue.  You simply say 'yes' and comply."

Okay, a passive approach indeed.  But, according to my father, it's the smart thing to do and you can always argue your point later in front of a judge.  

So, if I had been asked to give up my seat, I would have done so willingly.  And negotiated a better reward.  I would not have screamed like a banshee or run around the cabin like a lunatic.  Hopefully, I'd have an extra $1500 to two grand in my pocket for my inconvenience.

That said, the issue here is that United really goofed in how they handled this situation.  Most news articles quoting flight attendants say that all of this overbooking nonsense should have handled at the gate before the passengers even got on.

And here is buried the subtext that we are all ignoring.   And I witnessed for myself a airport gate snafu three weeks ago that perfectly illustrates the problem.

I board my American flight back to LAX from JFK.  Sitting comfortably in my exit row seat while they are getting ready to close the cabin door, they make the announcement that this is Flight 117 to Los Angeles.   I note a commotion in the back.   Five minutes later, two Hispanic women are escorted off the plane.  We are delayed by about a half-hour but ultimately do depart.

Mid-trip, on one of my frequent strolls through the cabin to counter any DVT symptoms, I ask the friendly flight attendant about what had transpired.

It seems that the two women, when they heard the flight was bound for LA, got agitated.   They were supposed to be on a flight to Miami!  When one of the crew asked to see their boarding passes, they replied that they had left them in McDonald's.   That's what got them bounced.   Ultimately, it was an innocent mistake.

Sort of.   Because I began to question how they managed to get on the plane at all without boarding passes!!!  I thought back to when I boarded.   I noted the two gate agents seemed to be new.   They were easily confused and looked like it was Day One on the job.  And this pair clearly had their hands full boarding a full flight.

So, there's your problem, ladies and germs.  Air travel in 2017 is so affordable and accessible for all.  And, to accommodate the reduced fares, airlines are using other tactics to show a profit.  Like reducing the number of gate agents. And perhaps hiring the less qualified.   That's how two Hispanic women got on my flight without boarding passes.   And that's all how United completely bungled the situation last week.

Anybody for Amtrak?  Or Greyhound?

Dinner last night:  Linguine with tomatoes and Kalamata olives.

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