He pledged a full review of the circumstances, and said: “No one should be mistreated this way”. It certainly appears that proper protocols were not followed, because no passenger should ever be injured for simply refusing to give up a seat they purchased. Passengers were told the flight was overbooked and four United employees had to be flown to Louisville for their shift on Monday. A seat that has already been sold, but remains empty, is a missed opportunity for the airline to generate more revenue.
“Watching this makes my blood boil, I’ll never fly United Airlines”, commented Anh Trang Khuya on Facebook, the most widely used social media platform in Vietnam. In the most recent boom-and-bust airline cycle, the industry “load factor” – the percentage of seats filled – bottomed out at 72.21 percent in February 2009, in the teeth of a crushing recession, but more recently has run in the mid-80s.
On Monday, after the disturbing clip went viral, President Oscar Munoz wrote an email to his employees explaining the situation, as well as DEFENDING officials for following “established procedures”. They have sometimes refused airlines’ requests to board planes, said spokesman and police officer Rob Pedregon. People who are actually bumped and are really irritated about it are nearly nonexistent – it’s a tiny percentage.
“Here what we want as a society: we want fairness in how people treat us”.
We, the paying public, have grown used to being treated like bullied middle schoolers when it comes to air travel.
When no-one volunteered, a United manager came on the plane and announced that passengers would be chosen at random.
United was trying to make room for four employees of a partner airline on the Sunday evening flight from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky.
Munoz and United then became obliterated with criticism. In 2015 alone, 46,000 customers were involuntarily bumped from flights, according to the Department of Transportation. When he did not leave willingly, security officers came and he was forcibly removed from the plane.
He said he has unsuccessfully tried to reach the passenger to apologize directly.
The incident has spotlighted the common practice of overbooking and bumping passengers from flights, which airlines rely upon to avoid losing money on seats left empty by no-show passengers. Management of the problem, which involves compensating inconvenienced travelers with gift cards of as much as $1,000 or more, was praised in some media in comparison with United’s conduct.
How often does overbooking happen?