Issues

An Offer You Can’t Refuse… 40,000 Passengers Per Year Have Their Seats Taken From Them


This past week, United Airlines made worldwide headlines after physically assaulting and dragging a man from an airline seat that he was sitting in and had paid for.   Not only did United Airlines treat their customer inhumanely, it took three days for United Airlines CEO to deliver any type of sincere apology for this blatant assault, instead doubling down and stating that the passenger “defied” Chicago security officers and stubbornly insisting that employees “followed established procedures.” 


However, the true shocker??  This happens 40,000 times a year, according to an Air Travel Consumer Report issued in 2017.  Just last week, a business class traveler going from Kauai to Los Angeles was threatened with handcuffs if he did not vacate his first class seat for a “more important” traveler.  And, just a month ago, United Airlines barred two teenage girls from boarding a flight on Sunday morning and required another child to change dress after a gate agent decided the leggings they were wearing were “inappropriate.”  The disrespect for passengers even worsened when it comes to animals – the same DOT report also stated that United Airlines killed 4 animals it was carrying last year. https://www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/docs/resources/individuals/aviation-consumer-protection/2017MarchATCR.pdf?mbid=synd_msntravel
 Here are just a few reactions to this news from the last couple of days:

Why does this happen?  Buzzfeed put it best – “Over the last decade or so, 11 big US domestic airlines have shrunk down to five extremely big ones, in a frenzy of takeovers and mergers. With less competition to worry about, airlines are now doing exactly what you’d expect them to do: spend less time worrying about how to keep their customers happy, and more time working out how to make more money…Less competition means you [the airlines] don’t have to worry as much about annoying people with delays or overbooked flights.

In the Midst of this Debacle, the Big Airlines Are Lobbying for MORE Power Over Our Air Transportation System

Just a couple of weeks ago, in a meeting with President Donald Trump, Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly made the push to privatize air traffic control, this time fully admitting that the motivation for his push was to get more control over the air traffic control system. Specifically, he stated, “well, we’re not in control.  And I think that’s one of the things that we see as the path to having success, is we need to address the fundamental organization of the air traffic organization.”  In addition, Kelly continued to highlight the airlines’ desire for control and management of the air traffic control system, saying, “we want the government out of managing the air traffic control system.”

How can we give airlines the keys to the air traffic control system when they are completely incapable of operating a business and treat their customers with disrespect?