I’m not UA’s most valued customer. I know that. And, frankly, since Continental merged with United it hasn’t been a honeymoon for me…or for anyone else. Continental was nicer to its passengers, an opinion I share with many. Not that they were simply fabulous. Not at all. But they were more civil. Lots more. That goes a long way. United flight attendants are sometimes nice, but more often than not, especially on trips to Israel, they’re pretty contemptuous of their passengers.
I’ve flown nearly a million miles on Continental / United. I’m Platinum Level just about every year. That means I fly at least 75,000 miles a year. That’s no big deal to road warriors. They can fly a million miles in a year! But, they’re not paying for their tickets and I am. I’m what is known as a leisure traveler. Not a business traveler. I suppose as leisure travelers go I’m pretty much in their higher echelons. I’m also primarily traveling in Economy. Also known as dreaded Economy. And that’s with my status elevating me to Economy Plus which is really a relic of what all Economy used to be like. Nothing special but maybe enough room to stretch your legs a bit. No more width. Heaven forbid an obese person sits next to me. I once had the experience where the woman next to me actually needed an extra half seat in width so she shared mine. I’m not a skinny thing either. It was torture. All the way to Israel from Newark in a half seat! No kidding.
But this incident (you know the incident!). That really resonates. Even I, with all the flying I’ve done, found it shocking. Beyond belief. This poor guy was actually dragged and pummeled for no valid reason.
I think of Oscar Munoz, the CEO of UA. He recently had a heart transplant. I imagine him, all prepped up for the transplant, terrified, yet thankful that someone was able to provide him with a renewed chance for life and vigor. So there he is lying on the gurney, waiting to be wheeled into the OR. He’s had all the pre-op stuff, kissed his wife, prayed with his pastor, and off he goes. STOP THE PRESSES. Nurse comes by and says Mr,. Munoz. So sorry. You have to be re-accommodated. We need that new heart for one of our staff. Here’s $500. We’ll get you the very next new heart that meets your needs.
Or here I am at the hairdresser, to be a bit less dramatic. I’ve dashed over to make my appointment on time and I’m lying in that miserable sink they use to wash your hair. My hair is now wet and soapy when the beautician comes by and tells me A more important customer than you just came in. I’m canceling you. Rinse out your hair yourself and reschedule.
I pull into a gas station with a near empty tank. This being New Jersey, a real life living attendant asks me how much gas. As he’s pulling the nozzle over to my thirsty mini-van, he suddenly withdraws. Sorry. No gas for you today. There’s another station about 50 miles down the road. Some of our better customers are getting this gas.
Come on! I could think of thousands of examples. So could you. I used to own stock in UA. Glad I don’t anymore. Isn’t this whole thing truly unbelievable? I can’t even blame it on Donald Trump! Something awful in America that’s not Trump’s fault. Really shocking.
Whatever United chooses to do, I know the bumped, roughed up doctor /passenger is going to be a rich man. They messed up royally and now they’re going to pay. No doubt about that.
Tomorrow I fly again on UA. Back to Israel. Hoping they bump me because in the present climate I know they’ll be generous. I also know they’re not going to forcefully drag me off the plane. Not now. Not after this being the top headline, more urgent than war and peace and Trump tweets. For sure.