United Can Eat a Bag of Dicks (UPDATED)

Remember when I wrote yesterday that United Airlines sucks? I wasn’t just saying this because they treated a passenger brutally and with complete disregard for his rights. I’ve personally had crappy experiences with this airline, so I try to avoid them as much as I can, although sometimes it’s unavoidable.

Take, for example, my experience flying United to Germany a few years ago for language training. I was going for six weeks, so my suitcase was a bit on the heavy side. Ergo, my agency kindly granted me $100 to use as a fee for overweight luggage. I knew this was going to be an issue, so I requested that extra money – just in case. As I wheeled my suitcase to the United Monkey and placed it on the scale, the conversation went something like this.

United Monkey: Your bag is too heavy.

Me: I realize this. I’m going TDY for six weeks, so I knew it would be a bit heavy. I’ve been granted $100 for the extra weight.

UM: It will be $400 extra.

Me: $400 for an extra 10 lbs. Are you serious?

UM: Yes.

Me: Here’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to walk over to that little store over there, and I’m going to buy that $25 overpriced piece of crap carry-on bag they’re selling. I’m going to take 10 lbs. of stuff out of my suitcase and put it in this carry-on. Then I’m going to come back to you and check my bag. Your airline could have had an extra $100. Now you’re going to have nothing, I’m still going to bring the extra weight on the plane, but it will now be taking up room in an overhead compartment. Have a nice day.

UM: …

I suppose when you’re the government’s preferred contract carrier, you think you have a guaranteed client base, and you don’t feel yourself accountable to the customers. Much like government transit benefits incentivize indolence, lack of accountability, and incompetence on the part of the Metro, having a near-guaranteed government clientele base does the same. Add to that the fact that air travel is fast and convenient, and we, Americans, like fast and convenient, the airline feels it’s guaranteed customers, no matter how they treat them.

Sunday’s incident, however, appears to be the straw that broke the camel’s back vis-a-vis United. I suppose the sight of a bloody, unconscious passenger being dragged off the plane after being refused transport for no reason other than the airline’s desire to shove four partner employees onto a fully boarded, packed aircraft, didn’t sit well with customers or shareholders.

Shares in United Continental Holdings fell on Tuesday as the company continued to draw fierce criticism for violently removing a passenger from an overbooked United Airlines flight so staff could take his seat.

In mid-morning trading on Wall Street, shares in the group were down around 4 per cent, temporarily wiping close to $1bn off the company’s total market value, according to Thomson Reuters data. Shares recovered somewhat towards the end of the day to close the session 1.15 per cent lower.

United Continental Holdings was also the second biggest faller on the S&P 500 index.

But if you think my experience and the extreme, violent incident that took place Sunday are isolated incidents, I direct your attention to Geoff Fearns.

Fearns is president of an Irvine investment firm that handles more than half a billion dollars in real estate holdings on behalf of public pension funds. Last week, he flew to Hawaii for a business conference, and paid $1000 for a full-fare, first class ticket. On his way back to Los Angeles, Fearns encountered what one could only describe as United fuckery. Yes, apparently even first class ticket holders aren’t immune to United’s elitism, as Fearns, comfortably ensconsed in his first class seat, found out.

A United monkey rushed onto the plane, according to Fearns, and demanded that Fearns leave the aircraft, because “the flight was overfull.”

Fearns, much like David Dao, stood his ground and refused to leave the plane he had already boarded, seated in the seat he had already paid for.

“That’s when they told me they needed the seat for somebody more important who came at the last minute,” Fearns said. “They said they have a priority list and this other person was higher on the list than me.”

Apparently United had some mechanical troubles with the aircraft scheduled to make the flight. So the carrier swapped out that plane with a slightly smaller one with fewer first-class seats.

Worse yet, when Fearns refused to leave, they threatened to handcuff him and physically remove him from the plane. Sound familiar?

But it gets better. OH, so much better! The United monkeys “compromised” by sticking Fearns in an economy seat, between two quarreling spouses, who wouldn’t stop yelling at one another. For six hours. Can you imagine how much fun that was?

After consulting with his attorney, Fearns asked for a full refund and a $25,000 donation to the charity of his choice. The response from the United monkeys was “Yeahno, sorry.”

Instead, the United monkey offered to refund the difference between his first-class ticket and an economy ticket and to give him a $500 credit for a future trip on the airline. Because that’s what any customer who was treated like chattel wants to do is fly that retarded airline again! NOT.

The United monkey apologized he had a bad experience, as if it wasn’t their fault, and told Fearns they hope for his continued support. AYFKM?

They should apologize for being an affront to human decency.

They should apologize for their lack of business sense.

They should apologize for their obvious disdain for the very people who purchase their crappy service and expect a value for value return. 

They should apologize for their elitist cocksuckery.

They should apologize for their incompetence and lack of respect for paying customers.

They should apologize for their utter lack of common sense.

They should apologize for their lack of self awareness.

They should apologize for being bailed out with taxpayer dollars post 9/11, and then treating the very taxpayers, whose money they used to stay afloat and give out millions to their corrupt shit weasel former CEO, like trash.

But apologizing that the customer had an “apparently unpleasant experience” is akin to saying “sorry you were insulted that I called you a Nazi,” instead of apologizing for actually having done so.

United, please do us all a favor, and eat a bag of dicks!

UPDATE: United is apparently trying hard to overcome its PR disaster. They’re offering refunds to all the passengers on Flight 3411. Additionally, the Chicago Department of Aviation has put three of its officers on leave (don’t know if it’s paid) while they investigate their assault on this passenger. 


50 responses

  1. So is the next step for United is to ask for another bailout? They don’t seem to understand the word “humility” and “apology.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I’m sure. Because they consider themselves critical infrastructure or something.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. And the plot thickens. There appears to be some question as to whether the “David Dao” who supposedly “traded drugs for sex” is the same David Dao who refused to get off the plane.

    A search on “how many of me” which uses census data to estimate how many people share the same first and last name for “David Dao” returns 116 (compared to 35 for my name). And, as it happens, I’ve encountered (online at least) people with the same name as me in at least peripherally related fields so it is not at all implausible.


    1. Waiting to confirm that. But it really shouldn’t matter. What they did was wrong. Doesn’t matter who the guy was!


      1. Oh, agree that it shouldn’t matter. What, “we kicked him off and he was concussed and then beaten bloody because of this past behavior which we didn’t know about until well after the incident happened”?

        However, it’s doubly ironic if the smear campaign attempting to confuse the issue referred to a different Dr. David Dao.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Bumper sticker: “Hit me. I need the money”

          Liked by 1 person

    2. Heck – there is another author Celia Hayes! (Yeah, I’m slightly surprised about that. I understand that the author Elizabeth Taylor had something of the same problem, although not with another author…) Fortunately, so far we write in different genres, so I have that.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If I were to go back to writing, I would have to deal with the problem of two reasonably-prolific writers with the same name, though they’re using different middle initials, and a third with a name that differs by only one vowel, so he shows up along with the others when I do a name search.

        On the other hand, it would be a reasonable justification for carefully-designed pen name…


        1. When I first started out with the serious writing, I did google-search my name, and there was no one else with any “form” save an elementary school in the Hill Country named after someone else (not me) and a therapist practicing in England.
          The other Celia Hayes just popped up about a year and a half ago. I’ve already had readers checking out my books because they liked hers.


    3. Looks like I was correct to await confirmation before pulling back on my original entry.


    4. I’m apparently part of a set of triplets.

      Ever see a picture of Sheikh Hassan Nasrullah, head of the Hezbollah terrorist group? He’s walking around with my face. Which makes me very leery of Federal buildings that run their facial-recognition software.

      There’s also a guy in California with the same name I have, born in the same city and hospital, supposedly two days later.

      The three of us not only have the same face, we have the same hairstyles, beards, and glasses…

      There might be seven billion people on this planet, but there definitely aren’t enough unique faces to go around.

      Liked by 1 person

    5. Y’all have it easy: there are apparently 2,604 people with my name in the US alone.

      I continue to be amazed that I can fly without extra scrutiny or hitting the no-fly list, I’m sure at least one of the folks sharing my name has been naughty. My father, James, was guaranteed a pat-down every single time he flew, for years, because someone sharing his first and last name had been a bomber with the IRA back in the 50s. Despite the fact that as a president at KBR he’d been vetted just about as much as any civilian could possibly be. (He actually turned down running their entire government program because he can’t stand dealing with generals and politicians.) My mother used to get the royalty checks for some other Mary Stewart (not the one who wrote Arthurian fantasy, a completely different one) despite living in a different small town in PA. There’s a REASON that serial killers are identified by their first, middle, and last name, and it isn’t so that their parents can finally get full credit for their clever choices – it’s because a lot of folks bear the same or similar name, and mistakes are easy if you’re lazy.

      At least in this case, stupidity actually will be painful. United has not only taken a huge reputation hit, they’ve drawn attention from folks on the Hill eager to DO SOMETHING. Which is never good for anyone, anywhere.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. The local PD started using computers in the early 1980s. I don’t know where their software came from, but it assumed that every person in town had a unique name.

        This caused several *very tense* interactions, several at gunpoint, when the cops called in a name-and-warrant check, since there were five of us in town with the same name, and the other four were all felons.

        The most amusing incident was when I went down to the station to get the CLEO signature for my ATF machine gun papers. The Chief passed the forms to a detective and was waiting in his office when the detective ran back in a moment later, all excited. I said, “Wrong guy,” and they sighed in relief…


  3. United used to be a good airline. Now it’s the reason I don’t get on an airplane unless I have no other choice. They suck. And their arrogant ass CEO doesn’t help at all.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Don’t know about United. Foe me it’s the government and the Transport Sturm Abteilung that keep me off planes.


    2. You have a good chance of spending more time at the airport than in flight. The suck factor at airports far exceeds my tolerance already.

      And after your flight, you get… *another* airport! “Second prize, *two* weeks in New Jersey…”


  4. Am not surprised to find out about the Dr. Dao being a case of mistaken identity with the one who did drug-related offenses. Looking forward to see the lawsuits that follow; waiting with popcorn.


    I can’t play back the video but apparently he was calm and civilized until they grabbed him.


      1. I meant the crimes attributed to the Airplane Dao were done by a different David Dao.

        Or am I wrong in my reading that (I read the article)? Because it’s a little confusing now; was the David Dao on the plane the same guy with the criminal record or not?

        The reason why I’m all confused now is because that allegation suddenly getting pulled out smelled of trying to justify the violence against the guy on the plane by dismissing him as a criminal. (Y’know, the “oh, he’s a nazi, it’s okay to punch nazis” excuse popular lately.)

        What I mean is: there seems to be two Dr. Daos, one who has a criminal record, and one who was the one dragged off the plane with injuries. Am I wrong in reading that they are two different people? (Am sincerely confused now, Nicki ^^; )


        1. Don’t feel bad, I also clicked to the article and got lost as the author rabbited back and forth.

          The last time I read something that changed directions so often, it was from someone trying to get me to vote for him.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. No, there are two Daos – one male and one female. Married. Doctors. The LA Times, however, called Dao’s wife and confirmed they had the correct Dao. That this was the Dao with the prior arrest record.


  5. But what if that’s their favorite meal, Nicki ? 😉

    But seriously, at least no-frills airlines (Ryanair, EasyJet in Europe) are upfront about being “no frills”. And even they wouldn’t have pulled a stunt like this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But what if that’s their favorite meal, Nicki ?

      No, it’s not, but it seems to be what they serve for an in flight meal.


  6. united can suck dick! i lost 250K “lifetime” miles to one of their several shakeups…I would sooner walk than fly united,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They flatly refused to credit miles from one of their partner airlines (Air Canada) without a receipt, which I didn’t have because I had done the whole thing online (but before I signed up for their program).

      Ticket stubs were of no avail.

      I told the motherfuckers to just close my account.


  7. This is not the worst United has done. In 2005 I was flying back to Portland from Washington D.C., and flew United. At the departure gate, I met a Marine escort for a fallen comrade who had recently died in Iraq. It turned out that he, and the dead Marine he was escorting, was waiting for a *third* flight to Portland, having been bumped from 2 United flights previously, and sent from Chicago to DC to get on this flight, but found it was over-booked as well. He had been awake for nearly 72 hours. I may have made him a bit nervous, after the story’s end sank in, when I asked “What did you say?” twice in a row, perhaps with a bit too much intensity.

    I realized what had to be done. I picked up my briefcase, went to the gate attendant, and calmly instructed her that if it should chance that there was no room for the 2 Marines, then the living Marine should be given my ticket, and my baggage should be removed from the plane, and the dead Marine should take its place. She seemed flustered, saying she could not do it alone. I told her to get on the phone and contact someone who could, and she began calling as I returned to the Marine and told him we would have to see what happened.

    I was disturbed enough that I removed myself to the open corner of the gate area. About 10 minutes later a gaggle of suits fast-walked down the concourse with the obvious low-level supervisor, who began to punch codes into the young lady’s board. It took another 10 minutes, during which time the gaggle of suits seemed to try to not stare at me. I was pleased, upon boarding, to see the young Marine had been given a first class seat. At PDX, the plane’s Captain asked the passengers to delay their disembarkation preparations to observe the arrival ceremony for the fallen Marine.

    So, …they knew what was right. Someone simply had to remind them that others knew what was right as well.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Jackasses. They really do hire the morons, don’t they!

      My son flew American after AIT. The Army in its own usual way, decided he would fly from Richmond to NYC, and then to Charlotte. The flight to NYC was delayed. He went up to the gate agent and asked what he should do, because he would miss his connecting flight to Charlotte. The gate agent looked at his uniform, looked at his ticket, and then changed his flight to a direct one from Richmond to Charlotte and upgraded him to first class. American has always been pretty good for me, and they were fantastic for my kid!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Seems their gate agents have a lot more discretionary authority than the United peons… I have issues with American, but their gate agents I dealt with were fairly reasonable.


    2. United may have been jerks, but you, Sir, were a true first class gentleman.


    3. Thumbs up!


  8. United should have been sued out of existence for allowing terrorists to seize control of their Flight 175 on 9/11/2001. Who has ever been held accountable for the loss of the South Tower of the World Trade Center and the people who were in it?


    1. Nobody.

      After all, you can’t possibly expect the airlines to have done anything about in-flight security after only 30-odd years of dealing with terrorist hijackings and other incidents, now can you?

      Once the fail is dispersed widely enough, everyone walks away with clean hands.


  9. canceling my United affinity card as soon as this months statement is cleared…


  10. I’m so cheap I squeak. But I will pay, and do pay more, to avoid flying on United.


    1. LOL! Same here.


  11. Around the periphery of this event, other than the random “OMG” or “Why did you do that?” commentary, not one person on that plane spoke out to say, “Good G-d man, stop assaulting him and I, myself, will get off the plane.”

    On what was a full plane, there wasn’t an SJW to “make a stand”? Talk about igniting a KickStarter Campaign or a gofundme page…….
    They sure do sing it, yet missed an opportunity to bring it with this melee.
    I will concede the human desire to just want to get home more than likely overwhelmed any desire to engage in any social justice fuckery.

    As always, good on ya


    1. Actually, someone offered to get off the plane for some amount of money, and they didn’t even care.

      But yeah, at that point, everyone is just freaked out and wanting to get home. I can see that.


    2. And it wasn’t an obscene amount. Couple of hundred higher than what was offered to begin with, IIRC.


  12. My wife and I almost always fly the bargain carriers. Allegiant here is completely no frills, and usually quite cheap. However, they are getting so pissy with the no frills concept that they are charging 35$ for a fucking carry on bag. You are allowed a purse, or a very small briefcase that will fit under the seat in front of you. Then, if you want to carry on a bag which will fit in the overhead compartment, you have to pay the 35$. And I think it is 50$ for a checked bag. Hell, we have flown from MI to FL before, when we didn’t pay 50$ for the segment. Our best experience has been on Delta, which was without flaw, and not much more expensive. I wonder if United is going to weather this storm, or if the bad publicity will eventually force them under? It could happen, and if these types of things are the norm, it should.


    1. Back before Feral Express and its competition raised their rates so much, I used to ship my stuff ahead when touring by motorcycle.

      For that matter, a 3-pack of underwear is about $10 at Wal-Mart or K-Mart. I know it galls to throw away almost-new underwear, but really, compared to the overall cost of the trip, do you really want to ship more dirty clothes home than you have to?


      1. Amazon Prime is your friend. I’ve ordered stuff to replace lost and destroyed more times than I want to think about.


  13. Truly, they are learning that the cost of crapping all over customers is far, far higher than taking care of them.

    How much would it have cost to fly their crew First Class on the most expensive rival? probably far less than the hit on their stockholders.

    I avoid flying at all, because I am appalled at the “Convicted Felon” treatment the airlines imposed, once removed, by asking for the Gov/TSA to handle screeenings, thus also absolving themselves forever for any screw ups that lead to more mass-causalty events. Thus, of course, all but guaranteeing that such will again happen.

    BTW, I love that “Transport Storm Abteilung” comment, above.

    United Airlines: Making the Soviet Aeroflot look like the exemplar of customer service.

    “You can’t beat United, but we sure as heck can beat you!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought TSA stood for Transport Sozialist Arbeiterpartei.


      1. Department of Homeland Security sounds better in the Original German.


  14. And United manages to hit ALL the bases: They apparently lost the doctor’s luggage…..


  15. […] learned a big lesson from United’s public affairs fiasco a couple of weeks ago, in which a passenger was dragged bloodied and unconscious off the flight. Within minutes of the incident, the company issued a public apology and promised to […]


  16. […] We’ve finally reached a settlement with the passenger we had airport security beat up and dragged off the plane. Whew! That was […]


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