After the video of United Airlines dragging a passenger off a flight went viral, Twitter ensured the airline will never have an overbooking problem again.
On a domestic flight from Chicago to Louisville, a doctor — who was on his way to see patients who had appointments — was randomly chosen to give up his seat for a United Airlines staff member, since the airline had booked too many seats for the flight. The airline was forced to revert to random selection, since no passengers volunteered to deplane for initial offers of $400, and $800.
When the doctor refused to leave the plane, United Airlines called Chicago Police, who then boarded the plane and dragged the man out of his seat, who was literally kicking and screaming. The video itself is hard to watch, particularly when the doctor starts screaming as police officers drag him down the aisle, with his shirt riding up.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, United Airlines’ official response to the uproar on social media over the video was an even bigger debacle, as the CEO of the airline refused to apologize to the passenger, instead only apologizing for having to “re-accommodate” passengers on an overbooked flight.
United CEO response to United Express Flight 3411. pic.twitter.com/rF5gNIvVd0
— United (@united) April 10, 2017
All of this was too much for Twitter, as users of the platform brutally roasted the airline and its public relations team for its total lack of awareness about customer service. Others compared United’s failure at public relations to similar slip-ups with a Pepsi ad that trivialized the Black Lives Matter movement, and Delta Airlines’ cancellations of thousands of flights.
To be fair to United Airlines security, they thought they'd be greeted as liberators.
— Carl Prine (@CarlPrinetweets) April 10, 2017
— Jack (@JackHTX) April 10, 2017
— dbrand (@dbrand) April 10, 2017
@united you guys will never have a problem with overbooking now that nobody will opt to fly with you.
— Billy Joe Kiessling (@buhbuhbilly) April 10, 2017
@united United : "Is there a doctor on the plane?"
United: *beats them bloody/drags limp body down the aisle as everyone screams.
— Phillip Paulson (@PaulsonPhillip) April 10, 2017
United beat up guy so badly for no reason even professional wrestlers are pissed off. pic.twitter.com/LZK4kDpMcQ
— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) April 10, 2017
United Airlines is pleased to announce new seating on all domestic flights- in addition to United First and Economy Plus we introduce…. pic.twitter.com/KQjPClU2d2
— McNeil (@Reflog_18) April 10, 2017
— Brianna Wu (@Spacekatgal) April 10, 2017
— Melissa J. Thomas (@missyhackthomas) April 10, 2017
A checklist before flying with United Airlines:
– no leggings
– no liquids over 3 ounces
– at least a yellow belt in karate
— Stormchasernick (@stormchasernick) April 10, 2017
DELTA: *cancels thousands of flights and blames week-old storm* haha we're literally the worst airline
UNITED: hold my beer
— dan mentos (@DanMentos) April 10, 2017
Several other Twitter users lampooned United Airlines’ statement, and did their own remixes of the tone-deaf boilerplate response to make it a little more colorful.
— Jason Steele (@FilmCow) April 10, 2017
Wow now is not the time United pic.twitter.com/VzCoL30xZA
— Casey Newton (@CaseyNewton) April 10, 2017
Other grim responses noted how capitalism has since progressed to the point where a corporation can utilize the force of the police state to order citizens to bend to their will.
In some ways United has captured the spirit of our time: total war against anyone who is not demonstrably elite.
— Gary Shteyngart (@Shteyngart) April 10, 2017
— Tcalaquilac (@tcalaquilac) April 10, 2017
The @united tutorial on real capitalism:
1 We'll give you $400
2 Ok, $800
Econ theory says u now bid higher
Econ reality: Thugs beat you up
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) April 10, 2017
Tom Cahill is a senior editor for the Resistance Report based in the Pacific Northwest. He specializes in coverage of political, economic, and environmental news. You can contact him via email at [email protected], or follow him on Facebook by clicking here.