Wednesday, April 12, 2017


What made headline news highlighting the chaotic events on a departing United Airlines flight  in the US, departing Chicago bound for Louisville Ky will eventually happen here in Paradise.

Normal practice has US airlines overbooking flights then when more passengers turn up, have protocols under their carriage contract to remove any necessary surplus. Keeping a seat can be better ensured by turning up early, paying a higher tarrif, or just being deemed more deserving.
Recently it all turned bad when the Airline, United, needed to get a crew of five to Kentucky for operational reasons and calling for volunteers and inducements left them one seat short, so United put its solution to work and selected a very bad choice to be removed, forcibly as things unravelled
Unfortunately the selected one refused, security and eventually police were involved to do their work eventually spilling the passenges blood and with cellphone cameras and recording it became a fiasco for the world to see.
United is suffering in the markets, gee who wudda thunk that
Overbooking is a practice that improves profits, keeps fares down and almost always works using computor algorithms to avoid problems when people often just do not show up for any of many reasons at normally easily predictable levels and resorting to generous bribes and compo is effected.
For United last week Murphy turned up and it got seriously bad for their image.

It is dificult to see how the last trolly dolly was so vital and the need to relocate crew was so last minute to ignite the fuse, hell was there not a seat in the toilet for it?

Murphy turned out to be very uncooperative, the screams and violence to solve the problem will take some overcoming for the corporate spin doctors.
I know it would cause me considerable angst to be asked after boarding, to get off.

Back in the totally misnamed 'good old days', following a cancelled ferry crossing from Wellington to resume travel in a car waiting at Picton, the Cooks and Stewards gleefully announced yet another need to cause max disruption on school holiday eve.
A night in a very ordinary pub beside pigeon park, next morning had us still marooned so down to Air NZ to get a flight to Blenheim only to be informed only one could acheive that, swmbo to fly to CHC,  all at our cost no offers of reimbursment it became more galling when on take off to Woodbourne a charming young lady sitting beside me was a Lufthansa trolly dolly on vacation who was paying 10% of full fare while swmbo was paying full fare to CHC.
Now that inexcusable departure from an assumed fair and equal world was somewhat annoying to be fair. I laboured under a totally false belief that my charming seat mate was supposed to enjoy her advantage if no one willing to pay full fare turned up, she was rather strikingly attractive I guess.


The Veteran said...

What surprises me just a tad is that no one on the flight was prepared to take up the offer of a free nights accn and $800 (assuming that was $800 cash and not airline vouchers complete with use-by date).

Jobson Growth said...

What surprises me is that an airline thinks it is OK for a paying customer to board as a doctor and leave as a patient.

What surprises me is that when a paying customer asks that the airline honours the deal they made, they call in the brute squad to bash him.

What doesn't surprise me is that the airline then goes on the offensive, describing the customer as "disruptive and belligerent".

What doesn't surprise me is the US media now full of stories about Dr David Dao's past criminal record as if that somehow justifies him being beaten for simply trying to enforce a legal contract.

What doesn't surprise me is that the uStates police are far too willing to become embroiled in what is a civil matter, not a criminal matter.

What doesn't surprise me is that this happened in Trump's Great America Again.

Next time my kids refuse to get out of bed, I'm calling United Airlines.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

What surprises me is that Jobless could come up with such superb one liner.

"OK for a paying customer to board as a doctor and leave as a patient."

paul scott said...

I see from the idiot Jobs in his pants that its Trump's fault. Carrying it a bit far.
Poor old jobinpants, he was doing ok then reverted to type wimp as usual.

Paulus said...

Looks like a $10,000,000 action - how the US Lawyers will delight in fighting over this.
Personally I find this disgusting, but that is normal flying in the USA.

The Veteran said...

Not excusing this but I think you will find the small print on the IATA standard 'conditions of carriage' ticket (contract) allows them to do this.

But the way this was handled will cost UA big time in any number of ways.

On many US domestic airlines their standard of service on a good day comes close to Jetstar here on a bad day.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Already caused a share price plunge.

David said...

Not excusing this but I think you will find the small print on the IATA standard 'conditions of carriage' ticket (contract) allows them to do this.

When was the last time anyone saw a ticket with IATA on it, let alone conditions of carriage? they are buried on a website somewhere. yes, passengers are asked to "tick a box" to agree to the conditions, but the box is on a page where the conditions are. There is well established case law in the US that says "click through agreements" are not legally binding.

Furthermore, I doubt there is anywhere in the conditions that allow force to be used on a paying customer who is occupying their allocated seat in a peaceful manner.

And finally, the flight was not overbooked. The airline cocked up its staff rosters and expected / assumed that customers would help them out. Dao declined. that was his right. It did not give the airline the right to have him beaten by the police.

The Veteran said...

David ... re the ticket conditions and you are dancing on the head of a pin (as usual).
Those have been in place since Adam was a cowboy. It is in the carriers interest that they are administered with a degree of caution and sensitivity. Certainly the use of force is unjustified and, as I said, this will 'cost' the airline big time as it should. I think the US media going to town on Dao's past was unnecessary but heh, its par for the course in the US (and increasingly so in Aust and NZL) ... sigh.

The Veteran said...

David ... re my last. Just checked. Our tickets to Samoa next month per courtesy of Virgin Australia have those conditions imprinted on them.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line.....unpalatable as it is the responsibility was with the captain who is in SOLE charge of who fly's and who doesn't...end of. It's the law.

Lord Egbut