United CEO Defends Staff's Violent "Reaccomodation" Of "Belligerent" Passenger

Tyler Durden's picture

In a letter to employees, United CEO Oscar Munoz said he was "upset to see and hear about what happened," but defended his staff's actions because the passenger had been "disruptive and belligerent." It seems not acquiescing to a computer's decision to select you for 'reaccomodation' is "disruptive" and warrants violence?

As The BBC reports, Mr Munoz has faced criticism on social media for his response to the incident.

 

He told staff in the private email that he was "upset to see and hear about what happened" but defended United employees.

 

"Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this," the Associated Press quoted the email as saying.

 

"While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right."

Mr Munoz wrote that the passenger refused to voluntarily leave the plane, with staff "left with no choice but to call Chicago Aviation Security Officers to assist in removing the customer from the flight".

Jayse D Anspach, who posted footage that went viral, tweeted: "#United overbooked and wanted four of us to volunteer to give up our seats for personnel that needed to be at work the next day."

"No one volunteered, so United decided to choose for us. They chose an Asian doctor and his wife."

 

"The doctor needed to work at the hospital the next day, so he refused to volunteer," Mr Anspach added.

 

"Ten minutes later, the doctor runs back into the plane with a bloody face, clings to a post in the back, chanting, "I need to go home."

 

A video that appears to show the man back on the plane, dazed and with blood around his mouth, saying "just kill me", has also emerged online.

One of the three security officers involved has been "placed on leave", the Chicago Department of Aviation said, and his actions were "obviously not condoned by the Department".

The department also said it would carry out a review into the incident, which it said was "not in accordance with our standard operating procedure". United said it was trying to talk to the passenger directly in order to "further address and resolve this situation".

So what went wrong?

It appears to have been a series of errors. A group of flight crew needed to be in Louisville, properly rested, in order to operate the next morning's plane. Had they not been able to get there, then many more passengers would have had their plans messed up. The big mistake the airline made was allowing all the fare-paying passengers on board, and then trying to entice enough people off.

 

It would have been far better to conduct the auction at the gate; physically preventing someone boarding is less harmful than dragging them kicking and screaming from their seat.

Many in China felt the man's removal was simply discrimination, posting he was only chosen to be removed from the flight because he is Chinese. We can only imagine the uproar if this passenger was a muslim or an african-american.

Finally, we leave it to The Mises Institute's Ryan McMaken, who explains United's violence perfectly illustrates the problem with government monopolies...

United Airlines managed to provoke a firestorm of opposition over the weekend when the airline overbooked one of its flights and resorted to removing at least one passenger by smashing his face and physically dragging him off the plane.  At least two other passengers filmed the altercation between the non-violent passenger and the law enforcement officers — it's unclear if they were private security agents or government police officers.  In response, the airline issued a creepily Orwellian "apology" for "re-accommodating" the passenger who had been selected "by computer" to make room for some airline staffers.  The response over social media has been swift with countless posters on Twitter vowing to boycott the airline.

My purpose here, however, is not to dissect what United should have done differently or how they can better manage space on the airplane — which should be regarded as private property. It should be obvious that on a philosophical and moral level, United is entitled to remove anyone it wishes from its airplanes for any reason it pleases — provided the airline properly compensates all affected customers.  However, the fact remains that few passengers would like to be treated the way United treated its passengers in this case, and the airline must be prepared to deal with the consequences of what anyone can see is amateurish management of an airline. 

It is in these consequences that we see the difference between a private competitive firm like United, and a monopolistic entity like a government. 

The Difference Between Private Firms and Government Agencies 

When United beats someone up for no good reason and throws him off a plane, both the victim and those who sympathize with him have immediate recourse to a solution: they can elect to never fly on United Airlines again. They can also attempt to convince others to never fly United either. 

Such reactions are perfectly peaceful, moral, and perhaps even prudent. After all, if one wishes to reach one's destination in a timely fashion, one might wish to avoid United, which it turns out, is the second-worst in the nation for bumping its passengers from flights. And, of course, if you're tired and grumpy and really want to just remain seated in a seat you already paid for, you might also not want to have your face thrown into an armrest by the airline's "security" personnel. 

But the important fact here is that in most cases, passengers have the option and the choice of avoiding United Airlines and electing to fly on other airlines. Yes, it's true that using other airlines might mean fewer non-stop flights or flights to less-convenient locations. After all, goods and services are not homogeneous even if we do casually refer to airline flights as if they were more or less interchangeable. But, the fact remains that for many people a call to "boycott United" is something that can actually be achieved without requiring that one drastically alter his or her daily life. 

Things are much different, however, when we start talking about governments. 

When a government agency beats someone up — or treats people in a way that most people regard as unjust or despicable — there is usually no recourse. Thanks to the state's extensive monopoly power, one cannot simply say "boycott the Federal government" and select alternative services instead. One cannot decline to pay for a monopolistic government's "services" whether they be road building, welfare programs, "security," or publicly funded universities. 

Any refusal to pay will be met with overwhelming force, fines, and possibly imprisonment. 

Moreover, thanks to the sheer size, scope, and power of the US government specifically, the only way to avoid these mandatory "fees"  is to completely uproot one's entire life, moving 1,000 miles away (in many cases), and possibly never seeing one's friends and family ever again. And even then, you may not be able to escape US power

This of course, illustrates the absurdity of the "love it or leave it" mantra that jingoists often rely on to claim that anyone who doesn't like the US should simply avail himself of other "options." 

These alleged options are not really options at all when they most likely require one to give up his career, his family life, and many of his assets. 

Monopoly Power Invites Abuse of Power

And perhaps worst of all is the fact that the government knows it has monopoly power and acts accordingly. 

As with any monopolistic firm, a state can get away with offering lower-quality service at higher prices. After all, if one has to pay for services "or else" why strive to offer high-quality services? Why keep costs low? 

On the other hand, if it were easier to refuse payments, refuse services, or easily relocate to an area controlled by another state "firm," then the situation would be quite different. Indeed, we do find that it is different for smaller states that are in fact more competitive and must act in ways that attract new investors and new residents. It has been demonstrated that small states tend to be wealthier than large states — and this may be due to the fact that small states tend to be more sensitive to those who wish to avoid it or leave it. As Peter St. Onge has noted:  

[A]ccording to numbers from the World Bank Development Indicators, among the 45 sovereign countries in Europe, small countries are nearly twice as wealthy as large countries. The gap between biggest-10 and smallest-10 ranges between 84 percent (for all of Europe) to 79 percent (for only Western Europe).

 

This is a huge difference: To put it in perspective, even a 79 percent change in wealth is about the gap between Russia and Denmark. That’s massive considering the historical and cultural similarities especially within Western Europe.

 

Even among linguistic siblings the differences are stark: Germany is poorer than the small German-speaking states (Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein), France is poorer than the small French-speaking states (Belgium, Andorra, Luxembourg, and Switzerland again and, of course, Monaco). Even Ireland, for centuries ravaged by the warmongering English, is today richer than their former masters in the United Kingdom, a country fifteen times larger.

 

Why would this be? There are two reasons. First, smaller countries are often more responsive to their people. The smaller the country the stronger the policy feedback loop. Meaning truly awful ideas tend to get corrected earlier. Had Mao Tse Tung been working with an apartment complex instead of a country of nearly a billion-people, his wacky ideas wouldn’t have killed millions.

Larger states can afford to raise the cost of emigration and avoidance for existing "customers" and for potential ones. That is, larger states are simply more monopolistic than smaller ones. 

When there is meaningful competition, people really do have options. They can avoid the firm they view as abusive and reward the abusive firms' competitors. This isn't to say that abuses within private firms will never exist. Even when firms are subject to stiff competition, there is no way to completely avoid human stupidity, incompetence, and criminality. What consumers need, however, is a way to escape these problems when necessary. 

In the modern political debate, we're told that exit and choice are not acceptable, and that we have democracy instead. That everyone should patiently wait for "reform" and have faith in "the system." This, of course, is the equivalent of mandating that all current customers of United Airlines remain the airline's customers forever — no matter how inept the airline becomes or how much it abuses its customers. If United's customers don't like it — by this way of thinking — they should seek "reform" from within and remain "loyal" no matter how many times the airline forces its customers to miss flights or be assaulted in their seats. 

Such a view is absurd when talking about an airline, and it should be regarded as equally absurd when applied to a government.

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vortmax's picture

This guy's gonna defend himself right out of a job

Hammer823's picture

The stock was UP 1% yesterday when the story broke and stayed UP all day.

So a 2% down move today is a nothing move.

It's nice to front run bad news with a rally, mitigating any real downside.

UAL is 98% owned by the Institutions.  So you can be sure it's stock price is 100% rigged.

https://www.instagram.com/the_rigged_street_journal/

hedgeless_horseman's picture

 

If this doctor adopted this policy for his crowded medical clinic, then the medical board would have his license revoked.

Sorry, sir, I understand you waited for an hour and have been taken to an exam room for your broken arm, but we need to reaccomodate you and place you back in the waiting room so that we can treat a fellow doctor, first.

Hammer823's picture

UAL stock has TRIPLED since 2013, yet their revenue is currently $2 Billion LESS than in 2013.  The only reason they are now turning a profit is because of gas prices being low which we all know is only temporary. If markets were truly forward thinking they would factor this in.  But markets aren't markets at all, they are rigged pump and dump schemes run by the Instituions.

BarkingCat's picture

Their stock might be holding right now. Let's see how it does when people boycott their airline. 

It will not require a huge boycott.  If only 5% of the customers do it, it will have an impact. 

MalteseFalcon's picture

The FED has been buying stocks for a while.

Want to create a little chaos in UAL's stock price?

Knock yourself out.

Everyman's picture

Here is one from the past;

 

UNITED BREAKS GUITARS

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo

 

Ex-Oligarch's picture

A total classic, thanks for posting.

Perimetr's picture

United to the public:

We'll fucking throw you off our planes if we feel like it.

We don't give a shit who you are, or if you have a ticket. 

Have a nice day

SoDamnMad's picture

I'd love to be a doctor and have my scheduling secretary tell me I am operating on a United employee.  I'm sorry. I over booked and am working at a different hospital today.  I am booked solid for the next 2 months. Take some ibuprofen  and come back when we reschedule you.

You can always find another doctor in the meantime. Have a nice day.

MalteseFalcon's picture

Doctor overbooked?

6 month wait?

Put pertussin on a broken leg?

Nigger, that's everybody's reality right now.

What the fuck do you think Trump-Obama-care is all about?

"Get off that operating table or we'll tase you."

ejmoosa's picture

The force of the police should not be used by the private sector to enforce their policies.

They should have kept rasing the amount offered every minute by 100 dollars until someone took the deal.

Human nature being what it is someone would have taken it.

hedgeless_horseman's picture

 

The force of the police should not be used by the private sector to enforce their policies.

This is a pillar of fascism.  The police are paid to protect the corporate rackets, just like the US military is paid to protect the petrol dollar racket.

Mr. Universe's picture

No just standard operating procedure for the Corporatocracy. Police exist to protect the corporations from the public, it is those whom they "protect and serve".

The same as it ever was. Read this and all becomes clearer. War is a Racket https://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html

Jason T's picture

Somebody said they had a RIGHT to the doctors seat.  

This is your Bernie Sanders economy right here folks.

 

We turned so far away from our judeo christian values it's not funny.

.. Thou shall not covet thy neighbors airline seat.

 

BarkingCat's picture

These are not Judeo Christian values. They are Greco-Roman values.

I wonder what group of people coined the term Judeo-Christian???

I am pretty sure it was not a Christian and historically these two groups did not exactly ally with each other.

Ask Bob about history of Gibraltar and what religious groups did and did not co-exist there with each other.  

Eurotrash Sorehead's picture

When I hear the word "judeo-christian" I reach for my gun...

Jason T's picture

Moses was Greek or Roman?

I thought he was Egyptian.  

Handful of Dust's picture

<< Somebody said they had a RIGHT to the doctors seat. >>

 

It would be interesting to see a photo of the four United employees who they beat this 70 years old doctor up for.

SoDamnMad's picture

I am sure the doctor's attorney is going to include the "security officer's" in the lawsuits.  I wonder if they can be charged criminally with assault.  To this won'tgo to  ajury. I would love to see United brutally raped.

MachoMan's picture

I am sure the doctor's attorney is going to include the "security officer's" in the lawsuits

Yes, because you usually want to get judgments against turnips...  the only hope would be that they had some type of individual liability policy.  However, there would be no expectation of getting anything from them, it would only be for purposes of getting the deeper pockets into the lawsuit.

I wonder if they can be charged criminally with assault.

Charged, sure.  Convicted, well, that's for the trier of fact.  You can't just beat people up...  however, you can beat people up if you have a good reason.  It is possible that removal from private property is one of those reasons.  Whether it is battery in this particular case is for the trier of fact (for states that aren't retarded, battery is physical contact, while assault is essentially the fear of battery).

swmnguy's picture

"Don't re-accommodate me, Bro!"

Handful of Dust's picture

"We re-accommodated some folks..."

 

 

Bogdog's picture

#Re-accommodatedlivesmatter

hannah's picture

when a baker refuses to bake a cake for a gay couples wedding the police should come in and beat the baker til he agrees to bake the cake...........funny as this isnt a joke because when the come to take the baker to jail for refusing they can actually beat him

QQQBall's picture

Chicago has an Aviation Administration? For what, flying bullets? NO wonder they are broke (and we are too).

Anon2017's picture

As a practical matter, that's what happens in Canada, where virtually every legal resident has a government insurance card. Doctors, their families and close friends and relatives get to cut in line. The same principle was in effect at Studio 54 in the late 1970's, where the young, rich and beautiful were allowed in while the ugly masses remained outside perhaps never getting in.   

hedgeless_horseman's picture

 

So, in Canada, if I refuse to leave the ER examination room to be reaccomodated to the waiting room, will the Mounties ride in, bash my face into the instrument tray, and drag me and my broken arm back into the waiting room?  

MachoMan's picture

All these straw men aren't helping your credibility...

SoDamnMad's picture

Perhaps 11:00 AM US time but now 7:00 PM Baltic time and Moscow time , Russian TV has nice clips of the doctor being dragged off. 

USA USA  We got the gold medal for Airline Treatment and the only doping is the CEOs.

Life of Illusion's picture

 

fly the flight crew private 

aurum4040's picture

Ridiculous. In my opinion this guy deserved what he got. What happens when you are in a bar, you act like a fool and refuse to leave after repeated requests to do so? What happens if you are in a store and do the same thing? Better yet - what happens in a doctors office if you, lets say, belligerently refuse to leave because a doctor wont refill a particular prescription? What is security supposed to do? Negotiate for 4 hours while the rest of the plane flips shit and subsequently follows a class action lawsuit? Dude needs to grow the fuck up and so do many others in this world

cherry picker's picture

I owned a bar.

People are requested to leave if they are making an ass out of themselves or threatening other people.  Never had my laptop tell me which ones to remove.

This guy was minding his own business, expecting the airline to transport him, which he paid for.

He gets beat up because he didn't agree with the computer.

People like you are what is sinking the USA and liberty.

If that was your father, what would you think?

After all, George W went after Iraq as Saddam threated Georgies daddy.

 

lil dirtball's picture

> People like you are what is sinking the USA and liberty.

You don't get it. He voted, man ... he voted for MAGA, you dirty commie. If the cops gotta break a few heads, well ... it's their job. Else, why have 'em?

You better hurry and get on board or get left behind - some razor wire.

Support our foreign and domestic troops!

TwelveOhOne's picture

I find it a little disingenuous for United to be hiding behind the defense, "the computer made me do it."

There are multiple levels of treachery in there!  First, it's conditioning people to accept that computers can control humans.  Second, a human programmed that computer in the first place!  And third, it's an attempt of shirking responsibility, which reminds me an awful lot of the Nuremberg trials, in which "following orders" was not a valid defense.

ejmoosa's picture

What would you like to wager that despite the "computer" selecting, certain passengers had been excluded.

Small children.

First Class Passengers.

(insert your thoughts here).

 

He was just the one selected out of the "eligible" passengers that could be selected to be booted.

Handful of Dust's picture

I highly doubt "the computer" chose this old asian guy randomly esp since he paid full fare for his tickets...as opposed to probably 50% of the other discount passengers.

First, older people are more fragile;

2) he paid full fare;

3) he had a valid excuse for need to fly back;

4) he was already seated and had his boarding pass.

MachoMan's picture

So you're saying that the computer knew he was old and that he might have a conflict with work?  Makes sense...

Son of Loki's picture

Three of the others kicked off were Chinese also. That's not a coincidence.

MachoMan's picture

And do you have the entire passenger manifest?  Could it possibly be that there is more data to interpret or contemplate prior to forming a conclusion?  Are we even certain that no one voluntarily took the offer for the money and hotel?  With how all of the police incidents are reported, I think it's best to sit back and let the facts trickle out over the coming weeks...  e.g. "he just had his hands up and the cop shot him" somehow goes by the wayside when people get under oath...  Sensational journalism trumps facts when everyone races for the scoop...  let's wait and see.

Aside from the fact that you've got hanlon's razor to deal with.

aurum4040's picture

Laptop has absolutely nothing to do with it. If anything the laptop made the situation completely imparital. 

No shit they are requested to leave. What happens when they dont? They get thrown the fuck out or the cops come. Just like the other situations I mentioned. Clearly that was my point, well apparently not for some.

No, its people like you who think the world revolves around themselves rather than the other way around. Its the me, me, me and if not me I sue attitude that is creating way too many laws and regulation and modifying the interpretation of the Constitution. The people that whine about this are just as bad as liberal snowflakes. It has absolutely nothing to do with a giant boot stomping your face and or the rest of humanity. The company made an offer that compensated passengers more then enough and this fuckhead acted like a fool. WTF do you think this is a Rosa Parks situation?

And my father wouldn't put himself or the other passengers in that situation. If he had an issue with it, he would have walked off the plane first and resolved the issue professionally via means he saw fit. 

ejmoosa's picture

What is sad is that all the other passengers were ready to sacrifice the doctor for their own benefit, despite them knowing that it was just wrong.

Jason T's picture

This is what hte liberals want.  A FORCED Sharing socieity. 

You reap what you sow.

 

 

johand inmywallet's picture

Please give us examples of his "belligerance", refusal to give up your contractually paid for seat is not belligerance. If United regularly has its employees flying certain routes, why aren't those seats held in reserve, 4-6, and if not needed, then offered for sale. Seems to me the cost of paying someone 800 bucks, a hotel room, food, the inconvenience to already seated passengers and then another flight costs more than just holding the seats open for employees.

United could have easily had their crew fly another airline for much less than bumping a customer.

What many people are missing is the ability of a private corporation to enlist publicly paid for Law Enforcement to act as agents of their airline on their behalf for civil action enforcement. This is going to cost the airline, the law enforcement agency and the airport 10's of millions, if not hundreds of millions of dollars to settle this claim. It quite possibly could result in the firing of law enforcement and subsequent arrests for assault with intent to cause bodily harm also.

I haven't even touched the civil rights violations that will be brought against United and law enforcement.

 

Someone had a very bad rectalcranialinversion with this decision.

BarkingCat's picture

I would certainly be filing Assult and Battery charges against the goons involved.

MalteseFalcon's picture

There will be no charges.

But the next time this happens, there will be no charges, unless the "passenger" is charged.

MachoMan's picture

Please give us examples of his "belligerance", refusal to give up your contractually paid for seat is not belligerance.

If you're going to cite contract law, then you're probably going to have to acknowledge the fine print...  e.g. that United can and will kick you the fuck off the plane if they want.

If United regularly has its employees flying certain routes, why aren't those seats held in reserve, 4-6, and if not needed, then offered for sale. Seems to me the cost of paying someone 800 bucks, a hotel room, food, the inconvenience to already seated passengers and then another flight costs more than just holding the seats open for employees.

Good thing that's not your call...  let us know when you're CEO of the airline.

United could have easily had their crew fly another airline for much less than bumping a customer.

Maybe in a vacuum, but apparently these employees were needed on other flights...  we're in the dark about the cost consequences to United.

What many people are missing is the ability of a private corporation to enlist publicly paid for Law Enforcement to act as agents of their airline on their behalf for civil action enforcement. This is going to cost the airline, the law enforcement agency and the airport 10's of millions, if not hundreds of millions of dollars [LOL] to settle this claim. It quite possibly could result in the firing of law enforcement and subsequent arrests for assault with intent to cause bodily harm also.

Let's say a hobo comes and lives on your front porch, who are you going to call to remove him?  The public law enforcement is exactly who you want to remove people.  If you're advocating for the exclusive use of private security and police forces, then I have more than a few third world shitholes to show you.  That said, the airline is perfectly able to hire and use its own security in addition to having the availability of public law enforcement.

I haven't even touched the civil rights violations that will be brought against United and law enforcement.

Please articulate how a private entity could have violated someone's civil rights here...

how_this_stuff_works's picture

@MachoMan

"Let's say a hobo comes and lives on your front porch, who are you going to call to remove him? The public law enforcement is exactly who you want to remove people."

Well, let's say a hobo comes and---squats---on my front porch. I didn't fuckin' SELL HIM A TICKET to do so.