United Airlines just showed us all the worst customer service imaginable
None of really enjoy airports. They're busy, stressful, and even when you get through security and find yourself at the right gate, your reward is several hours sitting on a stuffy, crowded airplane. Most of us just want to get through our flight as painlessly as possible so we can get on with our lives.
For one group of passengers on a United Airlines flight, things took several hours longer than anyone anticipated. United claimed that they'd over-booked the flight and asked for some passengers to volunteer to step off. They offered $800 to anyone willing to take one for the team, which is actually pretty low in a situation like this. (It's not uncommon for airlines to pay over $1,000 when they overbook flights and have to ask people to get off.)
None of the passengers were interested in the $800, so for 2 hours there was an awkward standstill as United kept asking for people to get off the plane and passengers waited.
Then things got violent. The Chicago police were called onto the plane, where they picked a man seemingly at random and dragged him off the plane as he screamed in anguish and passengers shouted in protest.
A brief video of the events unfolding can be seen here. It's pretty disturbing, so you won't want to watch this if you've got young kids around.
As if this wasn't bad enough, details coming out today suggest that there wasn't actually an overbooking of passengers. Rather, United seems to have needed to get four of their own employees on this flight so they could assist with another flight. In essence, they had to kick passengers off the plane to make room for themselves.
United will have to live with the fallout of that decision for a long, long time, and they're already being torn into by the tens of thousands of people who've watched the videos of this incident so far. Right now, we're more concerned about the man who was beaten bloody and dragged out of the plane. It turns out he was a doctor who needed to be on this flight so he could meet with patients in the morning. After being beaten and traumatized, it's unlikely he'll be able to return to work anytime soon.
This is a significant danger for his patients, as well. If any of them are relying on him for potentially live-saving medical guidance, they're now left without their primary doctor. The potential fallout from this one awful incident could be catastrophic.
Since everything was captured on video, we're hoping the man has a smooth time pursuing justice. However, he'll be up against an enormous company. His patients and other passengers may want to take action against United as well, and their cases will be more difficult to win as their suffering is less clear. To survive a long, drawn-out case against a major company, people may need to rely on funding from someone like us.
If you or someone you know was involved in this incident, or has been abused by a company in the past, we're on your side. You can submit a quick application right now, give us a call at (866) 587-4320, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to help you, so let us know about your situation.