- Date published:
2:05 pm, April 12th, 2017 - 29 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, boycott, business, capitalism, class war, interweb, Media, social media lolz, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: united airlines
No doubt everyone is aware of the United Airlines fiasco that is now raging on Twitter. The incident neatly encapsulates aspects of modern life that drive us all spare.
A large American corporation sold an airline ticket to an elderly Chinese Doctor whose name is David Dao. He was seated on the plane which was ready to leave when the passengers were told by Airline staff that four of them would have to sacrifice their seats so that four United Crew members could be fitted in. Three others were selected and reluctantly left. Mr Dao stood or rather sat his ground.
He was then forcibly removed from the plane to the upset of the other passengers. A couple of cellphone recordings of the event and the incident has gone viral.
He somehow got back onto the plane after it had been emptied and had to be removed again by force. He was bloodied and clearly confused during the incident. It is possible that he was concussed.
The initial response from the CEO of United was a belligerent refusal to accept that the Airline had done wrong. Using the most blatant sort of respeak he described the forcible removal of the passenger so that United staff could fit on a full plane as an effort to “re-accommodate” passengers. He also described the victim as “disruptive and belligerent”.
It was only after the social media shit storm that ensued after video of the incident was released and the plunge in United’s share price that expressions of regret started to emerge. Clearly United is recalibrating its public response in an effort to deal with the adverse publicity. Shame it did not think of this when it ordered Mr Dao’s removal.
And the Mr Dao’s background has been dug into with claims that he had been a former successful poker champion and that he had his medical license suspended for trading drugs for sex. You have to wonder about the relevance of his background as well as whether United had shopped the news around.
The story encapsulates the worst of corporate excesses, refusal by an airline to honour a ticket even though the purchaser was seated, the use of force to remove him, the attempt to affect the story by straining the English language to its limits, the recalibration of the story once the corporation realised that no one was buying the initial version of its story and the emergence of old news to cast doubt on the victim even though his background is totally irrelevant to the way he was treated.
The fury and anger is perfectly appropriate. Now if only we could channel all of that fury and anger into dealing with climate change …
And some of the best twitter responses …
if twitter this past week was a person here he is pic.twitter.com/r9JM0tP7ee
— chris melberger (@chrismelberger) April 11, 2017
— Vann Vaupel 🧢 (@vwvaupel) April 10, 2017
PEPSI: We made the biggest PR blunder of any major company this year.
UNITED: Hold my beer.
— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) April 10, 2017
Pepsi: "Shit, nobody could have a worse PR disaster than us this week!"
United Airlines: "Hold my beer…"
Sean Spicer: "Bitch, please…"
— mihoy🤙🏽🙅🏽🇸🇽 (@monch70) April 12, 2017
— ᴀʟɪ #StayAtHome #WashYourHands (@Ali_8k) April 11, 2017