Thursday, April 13, 2017

United Against Temper Tantrums

We've all seen the infamous United video with the man being roughed up and dragged off the plane because he was randomly chosen to give up his seat to make room for airline staff. Finally, an issue that everyone on Facebook can agree on, liberal and conservative.

That's actually a problem. Remember, liberals are wrong on virtually every subject. If you find yourself in agreeance with them, on anything, take that as a sign to rethink your position. We can probably all agree that, once you are boarded, there is an expectation that you won't be randomly booted from the airplane. A reservation is a reservation (see: Jerry Seinfeld). But what left-leaning commenters seem to be most incensed about is the heavy-handedness involved in extraction. Many proclaim that he should have refused to do the task, and have taken the opportunity to engage in the hobby of cop-bashing.

But let's take a more nuanced assessment of this. The security guard has a job for a reason. Sometimes airlines need a passenger removed, and it's his job to do so. If they don't comply, he must apply physical force to complete the task. The is his entire job description. It is not his job to play judge & jury in each incident to determine if the action he is being ordered will find general social acceptance. Whether the passenger is violent, drunk, or otherwise belligerent, or is a victim of an airline that cares so little for their customers that they now treat the like cattle, if the cop is called on to remove a passenger by the airline, it is a lawful order which he must obey. If the passenger refuses to co-operate, force is used. There were four passengers give the middle finger by United that day. Only one responded with autistic shrieking. And only one was drug out by the ankles with a bloodied face.

If the goal of Mr. Dao was to garner max publicity for his cause then he succeeded wildly. But if his goal was not to lose his seat, not only did he fail, but he paid a price for that decision. The positive outcome of this incident is that United -- who I've long hated and avoid as much as possible -- is getting a shitload of bad press for their treatment of customers. Does that justify Mr. Dao's behavior? No, it was abhorrent. At best this is a case of two wrongs making a right. But the downside is that it has just given a massive and public award to belligerent behavior by passengers. Airlines, especially United, will now balk at anything that might cause PR blowback. Expect an increase in passenger belligerence. The customer is always right to throw a tantrum.

Update: Mike Rowe takes a similar stance, but writes much more convincingly on the subject.

1 comment:

  1. Mr Dao is suing United and I suspect that he will win the suit costing United millions of dollars. How much did United make in ensuring that their 4 employees made it to their destination to prevent another flight from being grounded. I bet that it wasn't millions of dollars. The blowback may be better organization of staffing and begrudgingly more respect towards customers. They first offered $400 then $800 and the very next step is "call the cops". It certainly doesn't look like United learned anything from the negative press, maybe paying out millions of dollars will change corporate policy towards it's customers.