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?
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.
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.