(Fred Weinberg) – Over the years, I have flown in and out of both of Chicago’s airports many times.
The city of Rahm Emanuel, whose pathetic attempt at being a Mayor must have Richard J. Daley spinning in his grave, sent storm troopers to drag a 69-year old doctor off a United Airlines flight from O’Hare to Louisville after the doc refused to give up his seat to company employees which, at the last minute, the company decided it had to move to Louisville.
Dr. David Dao—a Vietnamese refugee who left his home country during the fall of Saigon in 1975—was dragged off the flight by those officers who are now on paid leave because that’s how it works in the windy city.
I travel a lot on business.
Fortunately, most of my air travel is on a real airline. I’ve been flying on Southwest Airlines since the early 1980s when I moved to Dallas and then Tulsa.
No airline—including Southwest—is perfect, but neither former Southwest CEO Herb Kelleher nor current CEO Gary Kelly would ever countenance the pathetic corporate behavior exhibited last week by United Continental Holdings.
As usual, much of the media got this story wrong.
They insisted on using the term “overbooking” which is absolutely NOT what happened.
Overbooking is when the airline sells more seats than it has. It happens and there is a formula to deal with it which dealt with in that big document you have never read called the contract of carriage.
No, this was the airline shooting itself in the foot by allowing an employee to make a decision that they needed four seats on that flight to reposition four of their own employees and, thus, would need to kick a paying passenger off the plane who was already on board and seated.
When Dr. Dao refused to give up his seat, United called in Rahmbo’s storm troopers from the O’Hare branch of that noted peacekeeping organization, the Chicago Department of Aviation Police, and the action, which you have undoubtedly seen by now, ensued. Dick Wolf (Law and Order, Chicago PD, Chicago Justice) could not have made this up, but he will, undoubtedly, rip this from the headlines.
Let me put this in terms that I know everyone—even the pinheads in the C-Suite at United Continental Holdings—will completely understand.
We do NOT need a law to prevent this sort of behavior.
In fact, we need a mass firing.
In the immortal works of Donald Trump, we need millions of customers to tell United, “you’re fired”.
We need to make United an example of what happens when you continually treat your customers like feces on your shoe and there is nobody left to protect you from your own stupidity and bad behavior.
One of my favorite radio talk show hosts is Fox Business’ Tom Sullivan.
A caller to his show said that when “the man” tells you to get up and get off the plane, you should comply.
Have we become such sheep that our definition of “the man” is some clown on an airplane telling you to do something which clearly not only makes no sense but is probably illegal? Apparently not Dr. Dao. And certainly not me.
For those of us who remember the fall of Saigon in 1975 with people trying to hang on to helicopter skids so they wouldn’t be killed by the Viet Cong, we have some idea of what Dr. Dao was saying.
For those of you who aren’t that old, you can see the black and white film on Youtube which many of us saw during dinner on the six o’clock network news back then.
The “man” does NOT include bozos from United Airlines and it took a 69-year old Vietnamese refugee to reacquaint us with that concept.
And, the penalty for United Airlines’ behavior should be bankruptcy.
We don’t need a law for that. Just millions of pissed off customers.
As for me, I’ll drive before I ever fly on that alleged airline again.
Mr. Weinberg is publisher of the Penny Press. Get to know more about him by visiting www.PennyPressNV.com.