Fly the Friendly Skies

So once again I find myself flummoxed. I find that I am flummoxed more and more often as I get older. There was a time when I was almost never flummoxed. In fact, there was a time when I didn’t even know what the word meant.

I was recently astounded when I learned that when Dave and Jll and the kids came to visit us late in February, they, and all of the passengers, had to change planes because it was discovered that someone had stuffed a dirty diaper down the plane’s toilet. See? Flummoxed. Because who thinks it is alright or makes any sense whatsoever to stuff a diaper down those tiny little toilets?

I was again bewildered the other day at our hotel when I was sitting down enjoying my free breakfast, and looked up to see a 20-something man wearing his PJs and barefoot walk into the public eating area intending to begin serving himself breakfast. He was stunned when the server told him he needed to be wearing shoes. And perhaps clothes, I thought to myself. Can you imagine? Can you even think of a reason that he would think it was okay to come into a public dining area dressed as though he was at his mom’s house?

But my state of confusion this time comes from the story that you have all probably seen or heard about United Airlines physically dragging a man off the plane after he refused to leave on his own. As you will recall, the man was perfectly entitled to his seat since he had paid for it. However, airlines routinely oversell their tickets. Having never worked for an airline, I can only imagine that it is because they often have no-shows. I have been sitting at the gate many times when I hear them ask people if they would give up their seats for some sort of compensation. They start with offering a pack of gum and move up from there.  I have never – not one single time – taken them up on their offer because when it’s time for me to fly, I want to get it over with.

What I can’t quite figure out is why airlines are allowed to do this. I began thinking about my dad when he owned the bakery. Let’s say Easter’s approaching.  He has made 25 dozen hot cross buns. But he accepts orders from 30 people who each order a dozen hot cross buns, because he assumes five people will forget to come in and pick up their buns. So when 30 people come in to pick up their order, he tells my mother to go grab a dozen rolls from five different people to give to five other people. These people would be extremely angry and would never again set foot in the bakery. If there had been a Yelp back then, he would have been BLASTED on Yelp.

So why are airlines allowed to do this?

I’m sure there are two sides to this story, but I frankly can’t think of a good one for United. Because the airline was trying to make room for four of their own employees. Let me say that one more time. This man was physically dragged down the aisle and left with a bleeding face because four United employees needed to get on the plane. Probably for a reason relating to their job. Which is why the man who was dragged off the plane insisted he needed to not be dragged off the plane. He needed to be at work the next day.

Now, it is entirely possible that this man was a total pain in the neck. As far as I’m concerned, it makes absolutely no difference. He purchased the seat. He chose not to accept the compensation for giving up his seat. So United simply needed to up their compensation offer until it’s tempting enough to get four people to volunteer to give up their seats. And – here’s an idea – NOT PHYSICALLY DRAG SOMEONE DOWN THE AISLE.

Fly the friendly skies, indeed. Glad I got that off my chest!

3 thoughts on “Fly the Friendly Skies

  1. I’m glad you got it off your chest too and I agree with you. But the part about the hot cross buns sounded alarmingly like a story problem and I almost blacked out from the stress of that.!

  2. My favorite response on this topic today was someone’s creative proposed ad for Southwest Airlines: “Southwest Airlines- we beat our competition, not you.”

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