United against United Airlines

Updated 2017-04-12 09:30:46 Xinhua

Bad customer service involving airlines is not rare, but none so irritating as the recent violent removal of a passenger from a United Airlines flight.

Video clips have spread like wildfire across the world, showing the disturbing conduct of United Airlines employees who, due to an overbooked plane, decided to drag a kicking and screaming man off a plane in view of his fellow passengers.

Four people, including the unidentified man, were already seated when they were reportedly asked to get off the plane to make space for United employees.

The incident appears to indicate that when the airline overbooks its flights, its tactic is that if there is “not enough seating, prepare for a beating,” just like Twitter users suggested.

United's decision is perplexing when it could have increased its incentives to encourage enough passengers to disembark voluntarily.

Rather than offering an agreeable compensation package to passengers disrupted from their travel plans, the international airline chose to use force. An educated guess would suggest that it values money saving over customer satisfaction.

Judgment should be withheld for the time being, at least until United makes clear how it “randomly” selected evictees of Flight 3411.

To make matters worse, United's handling of the highly-publicized incident has escalated matters further, with CEO Oscar Munoz's apology “for having to re-accommodate these customers” labeled “Orwellian doublespeak,” by one Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist with the Los Angeles Times.

It is baffling to see United embroiled in yet another PR storm. Just last month, the airline barred two teenagers from boarding a flight for wearing leggings.

“A man was dragged off a United flight. No, not for wearing leggings,” read an editorial run by the Chicago Tribune, the local newspaper of United's headquarters.

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