Yeah, this seems like a good idea.
I’m sure you’ve all seen the memes aimed at United Airlines, by now. Some are pretty hilarious, if you get past the fact that a paying customer was smacked around and strong-armed out of his seat by aviation authorities.
The background is that a week ago, after everyone was already seated, the crew for this particular United Airlines flight announced that they had overbooked and needed four passengers to give up their seats, in order to accommodate the crew.
They then did this Hunger Games-styled random pick, but one of the tributes, a David Dao, refused to give up his seat.
Then commenced the beat down.
In no time, social media was blazing with cell cam video of a defiant Dao being dragged down the aisle, glasses askew and face bloodied.
And no, please don’t bring up the dirt that was dug up about Dao’s past, with the intention of trying to make the case that he deserved to be brutalized for not willingly giving up a seat he’d paid for on a flight he’d planned in advance for.
It was the airline that didn’t plan accordingly.
And they know it.
After a week or horrible publicity and failed attempts to fix their image, United Airlines have announced a new policy.
According to a spokeswoman from United, they will no longer be forcing passengers off of flights.
“We issued an updated policy to make sure crews traveling on our aircraft are booked at least 60 minutes prior to departure,” spokeswoman Maggie Schmerin wrote in an email Sunday to The New York Times.
“This is one of our initial steps in a review of our policies.”
The policy change is intended to make sure incidents like the one earlier this month “never happen again,” the spokeswoman said.
Now, I don’t know if I’m missing something, but I’m hoping this just means they’ll avoid overbooking.
I think a better policy would be to always leave four empty seats, just in case, because as it was presented by the spokeswoman, it sounds like if you book your flight a month in advance, but they need seats for crew, you could conceivably arrive and find that there’s no seat for you.
Either way, the idea that no airline gestapo will be brutalizing you pre-flight has got to be a relief.