UNITED AIR­LINES – OVERBOOKED FLIGHT

Business Traveller - - INBOX -

Well, they say there is no such thing as bad public­ity. This story clearly ban­ishes that the­ory to the dust­bin. The lawyers must be wring­ing their hands with glee. [Footage emerged last month of a blood­ied pas­sen­ger be­ing dragged from a United flight by se­cu­rity of­fi­cers at Chicago O’Hare In­ter­na­tional air­port.]

Good grief, I hope he takes them to the clean­ers.

No mat­ter which ver­sion of the film is seen, it is a sad in­dict­ment of both United and the law en­force­ment agents in­volved. I hope the pas­sen­ger is okay and does take them for mil­lions. Why were pas­sen­gers al­lowed to board be­fore United of­fered US$800 to any­one who gave up their seat – surely it would have been bet­ter at the gate?

Un­for­tu­nately, any­thing to do with fly­ing in the US now is a li­cence to be treated like some­thing scraped off your shoe.

Over­book­ing and try­ing to en­tice pas­sen­gers to give up their seat in ex­change for vouch­ers and a guar­an­teed seat on the next flight seems to be more com­mon in the US than in Europe, al­though it hap­pens. In­ter­est­ing to see how this de­vel­ops. It may change the busi­ness prac­tice in the US on over­book­ing.

It’s now clearly reached a stage where this is one of the great­est PR dis­as­ters of re­cent times. The dam­age caused to United will cost way more than an in­abil­ity to op­er­ate the flight for which the crew needed the pas­sen­gers’ seats on the flight in ques­tion.

It seems to me the so­lu­tion to all of this is easy. Cre­ate a lower-cost econ­omy ticket that trades dol­lars off the price in re­turn for be­ing first off if peo­ple need to be bumped.

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