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A Puzzlement

When did airlines stop sorting out overbooking at the gate and start doing it after the passengers were on board with carry-on luggage stored in the overhead bins? It is a lot easier to deal with problems in the open space of the gate area than trying to remove someone from the restrictive space of an aircraft cabin.

I’m getting the feeling that the flight was overbooked; people were boarded until all of the seats were filled; and then the four United employees showed up needing a seat. If the airline knew they needed four seats for a crew, they should have filled those seats first, and then start boarding paying passengers.

I realize that flying is now considered a privilege that requires you to submit to annoying/humiliating security theater, and you have almost no rights after putting out a considerable amount of money. This is why CEOs want a corporate airplane – so they don’t have to put up with this crap.

I was fortunate enough to have done most of my flying on commercial aircraft when even tourist class got real silverware to eat with, and the food was delivered by people who were smiling and seemingly enjoying their jobs. When flights were overbooked, airline employees seemed to be genuinely sorry about the problem and worked to get you on another flight. Today passengers are no longer customers, but simply objects to be moved from point A to point B when it is convenient for the corporation.

Update: Wikipedia has a decent summary of the event and the United contractor, Repulic Airlines flying as United Express, whose employees were responsible for this situation.


1 Badtux { 04.13.17 at 5:50 pm }

What’s especially annoying are the people who said that the airline and the airport police did nothing wrong because “the man raised his voice and was non-compliant”. Since when is knocking a man’s teeth out, smashing his nose and fracturing an eye orbital, and causing a traumatic brain injury an appropriate thing to do to any 69 year old man who isn’t waving around a gun or a knife, regardless of how impolitely he speaks? The fact that the airline and police actually have defenders for this brutality just reminds me of how brutal we have become as a nation, where brutalizing both our own citizens and people overseas is seen as normal and acceptable behavior.

2 Bryan { 04.14.17 at 5:15 pm }

After more research – the union representing United Airlines pilots wants the world to know that there were no United Airlines employees involved in this mess. The aircraft and crews belong to Republic Airlines operating as United Express under contract with United Airlines – making two points 1) United employees don’t do this shit & 2) This is what happens when you outsource.

Republic Airlines also operates as Delta Connection for Delta Airlines and American Eagle for American Airlines, so they are damn hard to avoid.

I also notices that other people who are into passengers’ rights followed the course I did questioning why these people were on board, and many are saying that the rules for overbooking all talk about being refused boarding, not being removed from the aircraft. Even in that case they violated the rules that require a written version of your rights.

As for the supporters of the actions of the airport police – they didn’t put the officer who slammed the Doctor’s face into the armrest on administrative leave almost immediately because he did a good job and followed procedure.The airline is also in trouble for not cleaning up the blood until after the doctor was removed the final time. He’s a doctor, he could have almost anything in his bloodstream. This belongs before a jury of our peers to decide how many aircraft the doctor now owns….