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If You Can’t Laugh…

Posted by V the K at 2:27 pm - April 11, 2017.
Filed under: Airlines Suck

At least United Airlines Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Customer Service has produced some hilarious memes. I am kind of eager to see how the tactic of bringing up the victim’s past bad behavior (swapping prescription drugs for gay sex) works as a PR strategy.



  1. My favorite one so far is a graphic which says “Southwest…we beat the competition…not our passengers.”

    I’ll post a link if I can find it again.

    Comment by RSG — April 11, 2017 @ 5:39 pm - April 11, 2017

  2. Even Emirates is getting in on the fun:

    Couldn’t happen to a better (or worse?) airline like United.

    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — April 11, 2017 @ 5:44 pm - April 11, 2017

  3. RSG, here it is

    Comment by apple betty — April 11, 2017 @ 6:06 pm - April 11, 2017

  4. The lady being slapped by Dr Rumack (and other volunteers) was trying to get off the plane… so she’d be OK.

    I have no doubt that dealing with the public, especially the public on a full airplane, is an awful pain but I cannot believe this was handled like this.

    The ejected (defrocked) Dr may well be a scumbag but I don’t think UAL knew that so anyone (not paying full fare) was a target.

    I still don’t know if the $800 offer was cash or travel vouchers. I’d have taken $800 cash in a tic.

    Comment by KCRob — April 11, 2017 @ 7:08 pm - April 11, 2017

  5. Thanks, apple betty! The actual wording is much better than what my mangled memory was…

    Comment by RSG — April 11, 2017 @ 7:35 pm - April 11, 2017

  6. I still don’t know if the $800 offer was cash or travel vouchers. I’d have taken $800 cash in a tic.

    I haven’t heard anyone say, but since it was a contract carrier, I’m going to say cash wasn’t part of the deal. (A hotel night + other compensation was, though.)

    If you want to make serious bank from getting bumped, you need to choose the right airline (spoiler: it’s usually Delta):

    [Alternate link for those with no patience to put up with the splash page BS at Forbes.]

    Comment by RSG — April 11, 2017 @ 7:48 pm - April 11, 2017

  7. How did the personal information about the doctor come out if there isn’t even an active court case yet? Who leaked it and how did they get it? Was it made public before this event? I don’t understand how it’s relevant to a situation involving a paying customer on a flight being dragged off against his will. Was there any justification? (i.e. do customers actually sign something without knowing that they can be removed from a flight randomly if room needs to be made for staff?)

    Thanks in advance.

    (Also, I get a little icked out by the “gay” qualifier when a hetero-married man has sex with another man; is there such a thing as “straight sex” between two men? It seems that just saying “sex” is enough; the “gay” qualified seems unnecessary. Agree? Disagree?)

    Comment by CrayCrayPatriot — April 11, 2017 @ 10:53 pm - April 11, 2017

  8. *Sorry, the gay qualifier was in another article I read on the Daily News.

    Comment by CrayCrayPatriot — April 12, 2017 @ 1:04 am - April 12, 2017

  9. As I understand it, a reporter at the Courier-Journal in Louisville put out a call on social media for an ID on the victim. That resulted in a story on his prior conviction and loss of medical license (which, from what I have heard, he has regained, albeit in a limited capacity). Who responded to the call for information? Dunno, but I’m willing to bet some of the details came from somewhere in Chicago, in addition to the Louisville area.

    Are the prior misdeeds relevant to the price of pho in a noodle shop? Of course not. That’s why I think the long knives were already out. As Heliotrope noted on another thread, between the airline, the TSA, and DHS, they already had his basic information (including perhaps why he might have been chosen for involuntary denial of boarding). It only takes a scared (or worse) employee to start to do a preliminary background check. There were multiple video recordings out, from different angles. The doctor was not intoxicated, combative, or any of the other elements which usually result in an extraction from an aircraft. Hell, the guy could have given lessons in nonviolent resistance to Gandhi. Someone had an “oh sh!t” moment pretty quickly and knew this is why it wasn’t going to look good. Hence, shaming the victim. Now, why did the the Courier-Journal publish the background expose instead of a mere sympathetic story on the victim? Probably a combination of laziness and journalistic greed in terms of “never let a good story go to waste”. Hopefully they will get further slammed for using the angle they did.

    As far as what airlines can do to you after you purchase a ticket, it’s all spelled out in the Contract Of Carriage, which no one realizes they agree to by purchasing a ticket. In addition, US Federal law also dictates some things, such as the amount of guaranteed compensation for involuntary denied boarding. From what I’ve read, only 2% of the passengers who are hit by IDB actually file a proper claim for benefits (which may be more or less than what the airline offered them up front). As I noted on another thread, it all depends on what the definition of “boarding” is. It’s probably not “on the aircraft and already seated”, but something more like “wheels up and airborne”. That will be UA’s defense in the case, though it will be overshadowed by everything else in the incident. Fortunately it appears Dr Dao has two attorneys, both based in Chicago, and one a specialist in aviation law.

    In regard to the ‘gay’ label of the shaming stories, yes, I agree it’s a stretch and not accurate. But gay still sells. It’s why I’ve been seeing tabloid cover stories for two years on Ellen Degeneres’ impending divorce and why this week’s People cover story here in the states is on Barry Manilow, his “secret wedding” and “why it took so long for the gay icon to come out”.

    Comment by RSG — April 12, 2017 @ 7:12 am - April 12, 2017

  10. Thanks for that, RSG. You always come through with a lot of helpful information.

    Comment by CrayCrayPatriot — April 12, 2017 @ 7:35 am - April 12, 2017

  11. RSG, thanks for the tip on Delta and all that info.

    Comment by apple betty — April 12, 2017 @ 8:28 am - April 12, 2017

  12. Have donated all my United “Mileage Plus” miles to the Wounded Warrior Project.

    Since it will be a long time before I fly United again, those miles would have expired. So, it makes sense to give them to somebody who will use them now — rather than letting United get them back. (Just hoping they don’t treat a wounded vet as shabbily as the 69-year-old guy.)

    We must remember that making rules and laws implicitly involves a willingness to resort to violence — which is what happens when guys with badges and guns are sent in anytime someone doesn’t “voluntarily” cooperate.

    It’s only a matter of time before any bureaucracy blindly follows its rule book off the deep end. And, in this case, it looks like some computer algorithms (factoring in the fare paid and frequent-flyer status) also played a role — while allowing the humans to pretend that “the computer” made a “random” selection.

    BTW: Its one thing for the airlines to lie and tell a passenger that he was “randomly” selected. But, could telling the same lie to a law enforcement officer lead to the same sort of criminal prosecution that landed Martha Stewart in jail?

    Comment by Ken49 — April 12, 2017 @ 11:38 am - April 12, 2017

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