Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Random Post: United Airlines' Recent Blunder

Hey everyone,

This issue is trending right now with United Airlines having injured a Vietnamese doctor who refused to get off the plane.  I'm a little dismayed and somewhat pissed for several reasons, mainly because I am Vietnamese (Lenne "Pen"ry is my nom de plume) and I've hated United Airlines for a long time before this happened.  Guess this is more of expressing some agitation than anything else on my part.

The recent issue in the news
In case you didn't know, United Airline recently overbooked one of their flights, which a lot of airlines do in case of cancellations.  However, in this instance, no one cancelled and they needed four seats for their attendants.  Thus, they offered incentives for four people to take a later flights.  When no one took the offer, they "randomly" chose four people to be removed.  All four were minorities, three were Asians, one of which was a Vietnamese doctor.  He didn't comply because he had patients to see in the morning.  During the altercation, his head hit the armrest and his body became limp while blood spewed from his mouth and nose.  His limp body was then dragged from the plane.

My thoughts
While I have to agree that the doctor should have gotten off the plane when told to by US Marshals, the situation had its oddity and United Airlines certainly did not handle the situation properly.

  • Four people were "randomly" chosen to be removed.  I find it difficult to believe based on the videos from other passengers that four minorities were randomly chosen from the entire casts, three of whom were Asians.  Most Asians will comply with authority and perhaps UA thought they wouldn't make a fuss.  Was this racist?  Perhaps not, but certainly it seems like profiling.
  • The doctor was a very old man so was it necessary to use that much force?  Probably not.  I don't think it's right to lay hands on a paying customer who hasn't done anything wrong except for claiming a service he'd paid for.  Still, as mentioned, I think the doctor should have left the plane and pushed them to find another flight for him, whether through them or another airline, to get him back within the same time span.  
  • Since this happened, UA CEO's commended his employees for the rough handling of a passenger.  Very improper on his part.  UA is afraid of a massive lawsuit since this issue has garner a lot of attention so whether it was through them or other sources, the doctor's shady past was brought to light in order to destroy his credibility; character assassination so to say.  
    • Yes, he has a shady past and was tried at court for it.  It's over and done with.  What he did then has nothing to do with UA's actions now. 
Overall, this has been a mess.  I hope the doctor didn't suffer any permanent damage and I hope UA will learn to treat their customers better, though I really doubt it.  I will not join in the boycott of UA simply because I've banned them from my airline list a long time ago.  Airlines I do like are these two: Southwest Airlines and Alaskan Airlines.  Delta is fine but I have my qualms with them as well.

My experiences with United Airlines
I've flown with them on three instances and during all three, there were issues.  Since then, I've been willing to pay more for a flight so I don't have to deal with them in general.

  1. The first time I nearly missed my connecting flight in Chicago because they were super late.  I ran like a madwoman since the connecting flight was going out of the country.  Planes tend to be late sometimes, oh well, I'll give that a pass.  Not the first time a plane was late.
  2. Second time, when I went to get my ticket, they told me my flight was cancelled.  I was going to fly into Orange County and the lady at the counter insisted that I come back the next day.  I said no way, I have a reservation to keep and I already paid for tonight. So, she insisted to fly me into LA and have a family member pick me up.  I don't know why she assumed I have family in LA, because I don't, and I told her as such.  I wasn't going to spend a ton of money to have a cab drive me from LA to Orange County.  After insisting that I had to make this flight and with her giving me the runaround, finally when others who were waiting for the same plane griped along, they finally placed us on Delta flights instead.  Got there super late at night.
  3. Third time, and this was the straw that broke the camel's back, they gave away my seat (booked five months in advanced) to a gentleman who missed his flight.  Apparently he was supposed to sit in the same seat as me but on a different flight.  They never told me.  I found out when I boarded the plane and someone was in my seat.  So, I told the flight attendant the situation and asked if I could just take an empty seat.  Good customer services called for him to do something when his company screwed up.  Instead, he laughed at me as though I were incredibly stupid and told me that everyone has to sit in assigned seats.  Again, I reiterated that I can't because someone is in it.  At which point he chuckled and said, "Yeah, we'll figure it out."  Then he walked off, chuckling to himself as though he'd spoken to a simpleton.  So, I'm left stranded in the middle of the plane without a seat while others boarded.  It was awkward to say the least. He never did come back to help me and so I just sat in one of the empty seats after everyone boarded.

With three consecutive times flying with them and three different issues, I can see just how much they want my business.  This is why I've long made a vow to avoid them as much as possible.  Companies that don't provide good customer services don't deserve their customers.  I always vote with my money, in that I take it somewhere else.

What do you think of this recent event?

~Lenne Penry

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