Am posting this at 6 p.m., when it is now a world-wide story. When I wrote this early this morning, my interest was that it should be known. Even though now a major national story, I am still posting with some links - and local thoughts.
I tripped over this news item and think it worth sharing with readers. My question is: is this something we Americans should start getting used to? This person, a medical doctor, had a ticket, had been seated on the United Airlines plane and was in no way a bother to anyone. But United Airlines randomly selected him to be removed from the plane because of their own overbooking error. The doctor declined, explaining he had to get home because he had appointments with patients. So, United had the police drag him off the plane - screaming. Literally. I’ll not ever fly United again.
Now the question is whether this is the sort of public experience we should all be ready to adapt to? The FAA has not spoken out. No senator or governor has spoken out. Will this rise to the level of outrage by people, or be accepted as the new normal? Contrary to folklore, if one slowly warms a pan of water with a frog in it, the frog will jump out before it is too late. Scientifically verifiable. But we humans meekly adjust to slowly increasing police-state actions, slowly accepting them as normal. Until too late.
The best explanation of the legal and corporate interests behind this is in the Atlantic magazine article, “The Deeper Scandal of That Brutal United Video”.
We in Bellingham are served by two airlines, Alaska and Allegiant. They are not part of the three major airlines: United, American and Delta - that control our U.S. skies. When I fly, I try to avoid the big three. Southwest and other regional air carriers provide better service and need our patronage to survive. Imagine Southwest and Alaksa Air being bought by United: poof goes our connections, competitive rates, and decent service. Alaska is near the top in annual surveys of good service by all airlines. We gripe about Allegiant and their old noisy planes and fees for everything, but they still get us out of Bellingham to warmer climes and for decent prices. Indeed, my wife and I have reservations now for a flight out in the near future. Extra $$ for baggage and seat - but still a good deal. And Allegiant is finally buying newer planes.
The last time I booked on Allegiant without a seat reservation - they’re charging $19 for seat reservations on our coming flight - I ended up sitting at a window at the rear of the plane - with my left ear about a foot from the engine. All I could see out my window was the blue engine paint. All I could hear was the considerable noise of the jet. I could tell when the engine adjusted its power by even a few revolutions per minute. The $19 for a seat reservation is now well spent. And Allegiant does not drag us out of the plane for errors of its own making.