For those who have been loyal followers of RoadDave, it’s been quiet for more than a year and some have asked why. We owe you a bit of an explanation.
Writing is not easy. It takes a commitment of time and emotional energy and if the well is dry, then all the pumping in the world won’t bring up the water. Those of you who write professionally understand that dynamic. Since RoadDave is driven by the relationship of current events, observations and human behavior, it’s almost predictable that things will occasionally go dry.
The animal show south of the border is so corrosive that as soon as one put words to keyboard, reality changed to something even weirder. We couldn’t keep up with the strangeness, the vindictiveness and the pure unreasoning hatred that spewed out of the US election campaign. It hurt to watch and it still hurts to watch a good neighbor and good country eviscerate itself for no good reason.
That’s right, the United States of America is gutting itself in a mean-spirited, unthinking, knee-jerk, flame-out of global proportions. The last time the US was this polarized, they decided to have a civil war, North versus South, freedom versus slavery, rich versus poor. It did not end well.
America has gone mean and stupid. Merely as a for-instance, the United Airlines passenger who was dragged off a flight Sunday. United overbooked the flight Chicago to Louisville, and asked for volunteers. Nobody stepped up, even when compensation was up to $800 a seat, pax wanted to get to Louisville, which is why they buy airline tickets in the first place. United needed four seats to reposition a crew to Louisville for a Monday morning flight and United knew full well the flight was full, if not overbooked. Where the moron-fest started was United actually boarding the flight before they had their volunteers.
So instead of being a little more generous in their compensation, United selected four people at random, already on the aircraft and told them to get off. Three did and one guy didn’t so the gate called Airport cops who dragged him the length of the cabin and removed him. Of course it was all videoed by pax and posted far and wide.
Then following along with even more stupidity and mean-spirited behavior, the CEO of United apologized for having to ‘re-accommodate’ passengers. An interesting definition of ‘re-accommodate’ which now involves dragging you down the aisle by the wrists. That ranks up there with requiring passengers to avail themselves of the free anal cavity inspection offered by the TSA as a condition of being allowed on the a/c.
The old proverb is Fish Stink From The Head. Meaning, the leadership of an organization sets the standard for the company. Using mealy corporate bullshit like “re-accommodating” to describe forcibly dragging a passenger off a plane for doing nothing more than sitting on his arse, trying to get home, is about as mean-spirited as you can be, without actually trying to take back that bone marrow you donated to your cousin in 2014.
Had Oscar Munoz, the CEO of United Airlines, simply tweeted. “This doesn’t seem right. We’re looking into it.” and then shut his pie hole, there would not have been this rather expensive shitstorm that faces United Airlines, and their shareholders right now.
What has it cost United? A calibrated thumb guesstimate would be in excess of $100,000 in lost revenue and passengers who are changing their bookings. The ‘goodwill’ cost could be significantly higher. It could have been settled for less than $5,000, before the aircraft was boarded. Had United upped their offer to a Thou or even $1,200, they would likely have pulled their volunteers, nothing untoward would have happened and everyone would have gone on with life.
Except for the gate agents. You can hear their performance review in a few months: “You cost your employer an extra $5,000 in April by being overly generous with compensation. That’s not demonstrating a commitment to corporate profitability and is now on your permanent record. We will be reviewing this at a higher level for further action”
That sums up America now. Everyone, especially those in power, are looking for the slightest weakness to ream someone else and put them in as precarious a position as they can. That, along with just about everything that falls out of DC now, stinks of the constant, blood-thirsty, striving to get something on someone else, as hard and as fast as possible, to wield power like a crazed despot, over anyone and everyone. Clerks at Wal-Mart, Congress, the Senate, Refugees, Undocumented people, people without health care or just the other guy in the line at 7-11.
That’s mean-spirited and that’s what America has become.
EDIT April 11, 2017 1607 Hrs.
CEO Oscar Munoz has issued a fulsome and complete apology. Herewith the quote:
Statement from United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz on United Express Flight 3411
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.
It might be coincidence, but United Continental Holdings dropped close to $300 Million in market capitalization today, but is coming back up. Did Oscar look at his portfolio and suddenly have a change of mind?