Kicking a competitor while it’s down

Actually, my headline is unfair. Because United kicks passengers while they’re down.

And it’s really not a Southwest ad. It’s just a mockup by a jokester. Kind of like this one:

And this one:

But this is all deserved, because the United CEO started the day in pure douchebag mode:

And as we all know, this message to the staff was bullshit, because we’ve all seen the video. Wall Street thought so, too:

And in a capitalist society, what Wall Street say carries a lot more weight than what paying passengers say. Here’s the second attempt at a United apology:

Statement from United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz on United Express Flight 3411

April 11, 2017

The truly horrific event that occurred on this flight has elicited many responses from all of us: outrage, anger, disappointment. I share all of those sentiments, and one above all: my deepest apologies for what happened. Like you, I continue to be disturbed by what happened on this flight and I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard. No one should ever be mistreated this way.  

I want you to know that we take full responsibility and we will work to make it right.  

It’s never too late to do the right thing. I have committed to our customers and our employees that we are going to fix what’s broken so this never happens again. This will include a thorough review of crew movement, our policies for incentivizing volunteers in these situations, how we handle oversold situations and an examination of how we partner with airport authorities and local law enforcement. We’ll communicate the results of our review by April 30th. 

I promise you we will do better. 

Sincerely,

Oscar 

Too late, buddy. This is what you should have said before the plane left Chicago.

Never fly United Airlines. It beats up passengers.

This is how United Airlines gets passengers to “volunteer” to leave an overbooked plane:

That’s a movie. This is what happened in real life (from the Louisville Courier Journal):

Social media was on fire Monday after a video showed the type of hair-raising drama that you’d only expect to see in a horror film.

There was blood, screaming and gasps of disbelief. But this wasn’t fiction — this was a man being dragged off of a United plane at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport before the flight took off for Louisville.

As the Courier-Journal originally reported, a 31-second video posted on Facebook by Audra D. Bridges on Sunday night shows three men wearing radio equipment and security jackets speaking with a passenger seated on the plane. After a few seconds, one of the men grabs the passenger, who screams, and drags him by his arms toward the front of the plane.

And what exactly did the passenger do?

“Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked,” the {United} spokesperson said. “After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate.

Excuse me, but do these fuckers know what “volunteer” means? Let me help them:

Definition of volunteer

  1. 1:  a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service: such as

    a :  one who enters into military service voluntarily

    b (1) :  one who renders a service or takes part in a transaction while having no legal concern or interest (2) :  one who receives a conveyance or transfer of property without giving valuable consideration

Just to be clear, this is the video of the incident:

Why do I feel like this is what you should expect in a country led by a dwarf-digited dipshit? Corporations take your money, then throw you off a flight after you’ve taken your seat, because they “volunteered” you to deplane. And let’s be honest. The passenger is Asian. Do you honestly think these stormtroopers would have done this to a white guy?

Here’s the response from United’s CEO:

Let me catch my breath:

  1. United is upset? How do you thing the passenger your goons beat up feels?
  2. Re-accommodate? Is that the new euphemism for “kick the shit out of”?
  3. Our own detailed review of what happened? Look at the video!
  4. Reaching out to this passenger? Why? So you can slap him around again?
  5. Resolve this situation? Just give him a couple of million dollars right now, because you’re going to lose a hell of a lot more when he sues your ass.

If you want passengers to leave a plane, offer them vouchers. If no one takes it, offer more vouchers. If no one takes that, OFFER MORE VOUCHERS, AND A MEAL, AND A FREE HOTEL STAY!

Think what would have happened even if you had to offer as much as $3,000 in vouchers. Lots of people would have waited for the next flight, and it would have cost you a hell of a lot less than the lawsuit you’re going to lose and the bad publicity you’ve already gotten.

Because, as a regular flying passenger, as a result of this, I’m never again going to get on a United Airlines plane.

There’s bigotry and xenophobia in the air

From Harper’s magazine:

Travel Clearances

From descriptions of incidents in which U.S. and U.K. airlines removed Muslims or passengers who were perceived to be Muslim from their flights.

Asked for a glass of water

Asked for a second Diet Coke

Saved seats for friends

Requested a strap for a child’s booster seat

Upgraded to business class

Read a book

Read an article titled “What ISIS Really Wants”

Looked at a flight attendant

Looked at an Arabic text message

Appeared scary to another passenger

Watched the news

Solved an algebraic equation

Sweated

Prayed for a safe flight

International travelers are avoiding the U.S.

Of course, this was inevitable:

Though they may differ as to the wisdom of the move, the travel press and most travel experts are of one mind: They are currently drawing attention to an unintended consequence of the Trump-led efforts to stop many Muslims from coming to the U.S., pointing to a sharp drop in foreign tourism to our nation that imperils jobs and touristic income.

It’s known as the “Trump Slump.” And I know of no reputable travel publication to deny it.
Thus, the prestigious Travel Weekly magazine (as close to an “official” travel publication as they come) has set the decline in foreign tourism at 6.8%. And the fall-off is not limited to Muslim travelers, but also extends to all incoming foreign tourists. Apparently, an attack on one group of tourists is regarded as an assault on all.
As far as travel by distinct religious groups, flight passengers from the seven Muslim-majority nations named by Trump were down by 80% in the last week of January and first week of February, according to Forward Keys, a well-known firm of travel statisticians. On the web, flight searches for trips heading to the U.S. out of all international locations was recently down by 17%.
A drop of that magnitude, if continued, would reduce the value of foreign travel within the U.S. by billions of dollars. And the number of jobs supported by foreign tourists and their expenditures in the United States—and thus lost—would easily exceed hundreds of thousands of workers in hotels, restaurants, transportation, stores, tour operations, travel agencies, and the like.

Could it be that incidents like this

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… are leading foreigners to say, “Screw that place”?

I have noticed a difference in the quality of tourist in D.C. Far less diversity, and far more herds of sweaty overweight melanin deprived waddlers wearing American flag t-shirts and red MAGA hats.

And yes, I can see their t-shirts and sweat as I walk along the streets of Washington because it’s been hovering around 80 degrees this week in February, not just here, but in most of America, and these non-believers in global warming don’t see the irony in that.

It’s so unseasonably warm, that 5,294 daily high-temperature records were broken across the country from Feb. 1 through Feb. 20, Crouch said. In contrast, there were just 85 low-temperature records broken during that same period, making it a ratio of 62:1 of high versus low new daily- temperature records, he said.

“For every cold daily-temperature record we’ve broken in February, we’ve broken 62 warm daily-temperature records,” Crouch told Live Science. “That ratio is very high. In a normal situation, we would expect those to be a 1-to-1 ratio.”

Screenings, premieres and seeing people true stories are based on

So, I’m on my way to a baseball game, because the Washington Nationals have a deal where you can pay $75 for standing room tickets to all of the team’s home games in September. And as I’m about to go into the Metro, my brother calls and asks if I want to go to a special movie screening at the Newseum.

Let’s see: Use the $5 ticket to stand up for a nine-inning baseball game, or get in free on a movie that will cost $12 when it opens in D.C. theaters on Sept. 23. Movie it is.

But here’s where it gets strange (for me. I’m sure other people do this all the time and are used to it). It’s at the Newseum, and there’s an open bar. Free drinks!

Waiters are carrying around hors d’oeuvres. Free food!

And as we walk into the theater, there are boxes of popcorn and candy and bottled water. Free snacks!

So into the theater and head up to the cheap seats, because, like, it’s free and there’s no such thing as a cheap seat when you’re not paying anything. But someone comes along and asks us to move to one of the rows closer to the screen, because they don’t want the stars of the movie coming out to talk to empty seats up front. OK.

But before the movie, there are speeches.

So we get one from a Disney executive, since it’s a Disney movie.

Then we get one from a congresswoman from Brooklyn.

Then we get one from a congresswoman from California.

Then we get on from a senator from Delaware.

And all of them make it a point to recognize the senator from New Jersey sitting in the row in front of us.

(Is this how we do movie screenings in the nation’s capital?)

And when they’re done, they bring out two people who are the main subjects of the film, “Queen of Katwe,” based on a true story about a female Uganda chess prodigy.

And then the two stars of the movie: David Oyelowo, who was nominated for an Academy Award for playing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the movie “Selma” and Lupita Nyong’o, who won the Academy Award for “12 Years a Slave.”

Here’s the background trailer:

So this is the second time in a week that I’ve been to a performance where the subjects of the story actually show up at the event. Last week, it was at Ford’s Theatre (yeah, the place where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated) for the second night of a new musical about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. (And yes I realize how potentially tasteless that sounds, and no, the name of the musical wasn’t “Springtime for bin Laden.”)

The musical, “Come From Away,” was very good and is headed to Broadway. It’s the story of how the citizens of Gander, Newfoundland, pulled together to take care of the people on the 38 passenger jets that were rerouted to the small island community when all of the air traffic to the United States was grounded. The special appearances were by the woman who was the captain for a Paris to Dallas American Airlines flight, and a middle aged couple (Brit man, Texas woman) who met and fell in love during their five days in Newfoundland and later got married.

Following the performance there was a half hour Q&A with the playwrights and the subjects of the musical.

(Oh, by the way. The Nats lost in 10 innings.)