Forced To Deplane: What's Your Opinion

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Kristen K.'s picture
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Forced To Deplane: What's Your Opinion

There was a very unfortunate situation that occurred on United Airlines recently, where a passenger who had already boarded the plane was made to disembark (violently made to disembark) because the airline needed seats for crew transfer. They had offered vouchers for volunteers to take the next flight, but no one agreed, so the story began to play out rather dramatically. You can read about some of its points in the articles below.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-united-drags-passenger-0411-biz-20170410-story.html
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/04/11/airlines-detail-flight-rules-contracts-of-carriage/100331176/

The situation was made worse by the United CEO's seeming indifference to the matter, however later in the day he did change his tune do to media and consumer pressure.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2017/04/11/amid-pr-fiasco-over-dragged-passenger-united-ceo-defends-his-crew/?utm_term=.c295b016980e

What are your thoughts on this incident? Do you think the airline handled it correctly? Do you think the security force was out of line? How do you feel about all the other passengers that watched it happen and did nothing?

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My thoughts are quite simple yet probably not very popular...

First, the airline should have had the seating situation sorted out before anyone boarded. They screwed this part up in my opinion. Had they done this properly, the rest would have been avoided.

However, given what happened and the stage things got to, the doctor should have just left the plane. Three other people did without incident because they did not resist. Moral of the story is this:

If you are asked or told to leave an aircraft by an authority, you must do so. If you resist, put up a fight or just refuse to comply, you WILL be ripped out of your seat and forcefully removed. You will NOT win... ever. No matter who is at fault, when it gets to this point, you are best to comply and deal with the issue after leaving the aircraft. People who don't comply just make it bad for everyone involved, especially themselves.

Were it me in that seat, I would be very upset. But I would have the sense to get off the plane.

And, also noteworthy is that nobody appeared to step up and give up their seats instead. Even the hecklers. Quite interesting.

To bring this into a Disney context... if you are at Disney World and minding your business and a security officer tells you to leave the park, what would you do? Grab onto a post and refuse to leave? Even if you think you've done nothing to deserve this, what do you think would happen? I guarantee you'd be leaving the park.

My 2 cents.

Kristen K.'s picture
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KenJ wrote:
My thoughts are quite simple yet probably not very popular...

My 2 cents.

Well let's make that 4 cents because those are pretty much my exact same thoughts. The thing about this though that really, really bothers me is that all those people on the plane saw this violence happening and not a one of them stood up and said "Hey - stop this - take my seat." That really bothers me.

On Facebook today someone chided me by calling me noble, like it was a bad thing. I just thought... ummm... no... I just have some compassion. It's called being a human being. The lack of civility in this entire situation just infuriates me. I would like to think that I would have given up my seat in that situation.

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Kristen K. wrote:
KenJ wrote:
My thoughts are quite simple yet probably not very popular...

My 2 cents.

Well let's make that 4 cents because those are pretty much my exact same thoughts. The thing about this though that really, really bothers me is that all those people on the plane saw this violence happening and not a one of them stood up and said "Hey - stop this - take my seat." That really bothers me.

On Facebook today someone chided me by calling me noble, like it was a bad thing. I just thought... ummm... no... I just have some compassion. It's called being a human being. The lack of civility in this entire situation just infuriates me. I would like to think that I would have given up my seat in that situation.

Definitely agree with you. I know I would probably have offered to walk off if the situation got to this point.

I also don't like the fact that the race card is being played here. Ridiculous.

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I agree with Ken that United should have sorted it out before they boarded. It was their issue they oversold the flight.

The excessive use of force could have been avoided if he just left like the other three.

If I were on the flight, I would have taken the $800 and gone on the later flight.

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JoAnn C wrote:
I agree with Ken that United should have sorted it out before they boarded. It was their issue they oversold the flight.

The thing is - they didn't oversell the flight. I wish news outlets would stop reporting it that way because its not what happened. The flight was full, and they needed 4 seats to get a crew to another city to staff another flight.

There are actually industry standard procedures for oversold flights that include not boarding anyone on the plane until the situation is resolved. This was not that, this was about moving personnel to another city at the last minute. If the flight had been oversold those people wouldn't have been on the plane to begin with.

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Kristen K. wrote:
JoAnn C wrote:
I agree with Ken that United should have sorted it out before they boarded. It was their issue they oversold the flight.

The thing is - they didn't oversell the flight. I wish news outlets would stop reporting it that way because its not what happened. The flight was full, and they needed 4 seats to get a crew to another city to staff another flight.

There are actually industry standard procedures for oversold flights that include not boarding anyone on the plane until the situation is resolved. This was not that, this was about moving personnel to another city at the last minute. If the flight had been oversold those people wouldn't have been on the plane to begin with.

Good point.

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I agree as well with what you have all said.

It has been shown on the news over here and it kept saying that it was oversold they have never mentioned about it actually was crew that needed the seats, or at least on the news I've seen and read it hasn't mentioned this.

I think KenJ makes a great point it was only going to end one way and at the end of the day at what point do you just say okay I will move. It had nothing to do with race at all and it is annoying that this keeps coming up, like you say the other 3 passengers moved no problem.

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This is an interesting article that I found about the incident. A good post.

https://thepilotwifelife.wordpress.com/2017/04/11/i-know-youre-mad-at-united-but-thoughts-from-a-pilot-wife-about-flight-3411/

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I'm missing some key information to make a call here. Namely, I don't have first hand knowledge of the correct protocols and standards in the airline industry. I was not there and thankfully did not witness the events firsthand, so whether the belligerence of the passenger was more or less excessive than the amount of force used, I really don't know. (Personally, for $800, I would have taken the money and ran.)

I understand the frustrations of all of the people who were displaced. Regardless of where you're flying and for what purpose, there was planning that went into whatever will happen when you leave that plane and those plans will be interrupted if your flight goes awry. However, I think we all understand that air travel is inherently fickle and we have to be prepared for delays and interruptions.

I am curious about how the passengers were selected for displacement. Was it the last 4 tickets sold? Was it the four passengers who had paid the least amount of money for their seats? Was it based on seat assignment?

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Kristen K. wrote:
This is an interesting article that I found about the incident. A good post.

https://thepilotwifelife.wordpress.com/2017/04/11/i-know-youre-mad-at-united-but-thoughts-from-a-pilot-wife-about-flight-3411/

Very good article and I agree with this perspective.

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Kristen K. wrote:
This is an interesting article that I found about the incident. A good post.

https://thepilotwifelife.wordpress.com/2017/04/11/i-know-youre-mad-at-united-but-thoughts-from-a-pilot-wife-about-flight-3411/

Great article.

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Agree with all of the above comments, and here's my two cents Davie .....if asked to deplane or go through extra security checks, guess what, I will waiting , Period. I'll ask for an upgrade on the next available flight, along with any other perks I can get for my inconvenience.

But what I will not do is cheer-on the non-compliant Angry passenger or verbally attack the security personnel. For all I know confused , there's a security reason for why he was asked to deplane.

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Emilio wrote:
Agree with all of the above comments, and here's my two cents Davie .....if asked to deplane or go through extra security checks, guess what, I will waiting , Period. I'll ask for an upgrade on the next available flight, along with any other perks I can get for my inconvenience.

But what I will not do is cheer-on the non-compliant Angry passenger or verbally attack the security personnel. For all I know confused , there's a security reason for why he was asked to deplane.

Agree with you 100%. There was no problem until he refused to leave the plane. He caused his own problem by resisting. Regardless of what caused the situation to begin with, a passenger will NEVER win a battle with security when asked to deplane.

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Kristen K. wrote:
This is an interesting article that I found about the incident. A good post.

https://thepilotwifelife.wordpress.com/2017/04/11/i-know-youre-mad-at-united-but-thoughts-from-a-pilot-wife-about-flight-3411/

Very interesting read. Thanks for sharing!

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When the airline couldn't get four people to voluntarily deplane, the first step should've been offering more money or vouchers or whatever. Turn that $800 into $1600 and someone would've taken it. This whole situation was entirely the airline's fault so they should've been willing to pay whatever it took to get four volunteers.

Then, when this one guy said he was a doctor and had appointments to see patients the next day, they should've chosen somebody else. Most folks would've just been inconvenienced; this guy's patients might have been way more than inconvenienced.

Finally, according to the latest news the doctor has a concussion, two lost teeth, and a broken nose. There is NO excuse for that kind of violence in dealing with the situation. People need to be fired and charged with criminal assault.

Now, would I have refused to deplane? No - although if it were a serious inconvenience I would've tried to get more out of the airline to compensate for that inconvenience. And if they couldn't get me on another plane until the next day I also would've demanded a free hotel room for the night.

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This is a perfect example of why I don't like to fly anymore. I used to love to fly, since 9/11 I don't. I only fly now if I have absolutely no other choice. I'll gladly take a couple of days to drive somewhere rather than fly. I can keep my own schedule, stop when I want, eat what I want etc. I don't have to worry about strip searches, someone else blowing up my car, or driving it into a building or being kicked out of my car.

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They made an announement at my gate for volunteers to check their carryon bags for the flight to Hartford. I never saw so many people volunteer in my many years of plane travel.

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I did read something online that the CEO of Southwest Airlines stated Southwest will join Jetblue as they plan to not overbook flights. Hopefully, they can stick to their word but I have reservations.

wdwizbest wrote:
This is a perfect example of why I don't like to fly anymore. I used to love to fly, since 9/11 I don't. I only fly now if I have absolutely no other choice. I'll gladly take a couple of days to drive somewhere rather than fly. I can keep my own schedule, stop when I want, eat what I want etc. I don't have to worry about strip searches, someone else blowing up my car, or driving it into a building or being kicked out of my car.

I'm beginning to think that way, truth be told. It's no wonder people are calling airplanes, "Greyhounds in the sky". The lack of legroom, long security lines, crazy people who either have one too many drinks or just feel entitled. I'll drive or take the train for domestic travel and if I'm flying abroad, I won't fly a US-based airline.

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jw24 wrote:
I did read something online that the CEO of Southwest Airlines stated Southwest will join Jetblue as they plan to not overbook flights. Hopefully, they can stick to their word but I have reservations.

I believe that they will no longer overbook, however that won't stop not having enough seats in some other situations. Crew movement could still force them to bump passengers, as would guests invoking the passenger of size policy at the gate. Both of these situations aren't an over booking problem, but do result in airlines needing last minute seats that would result in others needing to be bumped.