You're in Chicago, and you board a United flight to Louisville. Why anyone would want to go there is beyond me, but let's accept the premise. United has naturally fully booked (probably overbooked) the flight. The passengers all board and prepare to continue their journey. Then, United realizes it needs to get four of it's own employees to Louisville. So it asks for people to volunteer to get off for a hotel room and $400. No one takes it. So they go to $800. No one takes that either. Then they decide to randomly pick people to get off. The first two they pick get off without hassle. The third... well... this is where they get into some trouble.
The third man refused to get off because he needed to get where he was going. He said he was a doctor and had patients to see. So, United was of course very understanding. So understanding that they call the cops, tried to forcibly remove the man, knocked him out by smashing his head against an armrest, and dragged his unconscious and bleeding body body down the aisle and off the plane. In front of a plane load of people with cell phones, they thought they'd get away with that. Eventually, he was allowed to re-board the plane, with blood still on his forehead but was clearly disoriented (concussed I'd assume). Then they deplaned everyone so United could "tidy up".
So, let me start with this:
Now, let move on to the rest. United response? Check this:
“Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked. After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate. We apologize for the overbook situation.”
That's it. They're sorry they overbooked.
Ok, let start with the fact that the man could have avoided this if he'd been a sheep. He could have bent over and allow United to fuck him. Or allow the transit cops to do the same. But instead, he stood his ground and was beated down for it. Now, he broke no laws. United had no legal reason for asking him to leave. He wasn't s a disturbance until AFTER they asked him to leave. The cops therefore shouldn't have any authority to remove him. At that point, they were only there to enforce company policy, not legal code. Moreso because the company had tried to bribe people to get off the plane, and only stopped raising the fee in order to save money. I bet for $2000 or $5000 someone either volunteers to gets off the plane, or United finds another way to deal with getting employees to Kentucky. So, these officers were just thugs, even before they smashed a mans head into the armrest. I really hope they get charged with assault, but we all know they won't.
This isn't quite the worst case PR scenario for United. I mean, preventing a doctor from seeing his patients is bad. Holy crap is it heartless and stupid. But it could have been a person flying to a wedding, birth, or funeral. Can you imagine if he'd been flying to his mother's deathbed? And got there too late because of this crap? The sad thing is that it doesn't really matter why he was flying. Every person on that flight thought that it wasn't worth $800 to get off and fly later. They all had places they wanted to go. NO ONE puts up with going through the hassle of going to an airport, getting molested by TSA, and waiting forever and a day to get on board a flight just because. They all needed to go somewhere. And it doesn't matter if it's a doctor with patients, a person with a dying family member or a stripper going to her next gig. This sort of bullshit is far to common with airlines anymore. And the idea that they think they can use transit cops as armed thugs to enforce company will is terrifying.
Personally, I'll be really sad if this man walks away without pressing criminal charges on the cop and settling for at least 5 million from United. The police need to understand that they're not corporate thugs, and are responsible for the safety of the passengers, not the bottom line of the airline. More importantly, when they're not enforcing the law, they're personally responsible for their actions (in this case, assault). And the corporation needs a firm slap to make it understand that overbooking has penalties.
As for that statement.... holy crap. I don't see how any human being could be heartless enough to write it up. They must have hired a true lizard person style lawyer to be that cold. One person refused to voluntarily leave the plane? I think it's safe to say that the other two people didn't leave voluntarily either. You tried to bribe them, and they rejected it. They were just less willing to push the issue once you threatened them. More than that nugget, you don't even mention that you are directly responsible for the actions of your thugs? That your corporate greed and mismanagement directly lead to a situation that you handled this fucking badly? That your strong-arms brutalized a man and potentially gave him a concussion? That they did so in full view of children? Let alone the rest of the plane load of passengers?
In case it needs to be said again,
And whoever wrote that statement... I really hope that you end up buried to your neck surrounded by fire ants.