A couple of weeks ago, a video was posted on the internet of a United Airlines passenger being violently dragged from a plane by a couple of security guards who were treating him like a rag doll. In no time, the entire internet was up in arms, saying how this was unacceptable and they would never fly United again.
While I can understand people getting upset over this – no one should be okay with one person hurting another – all of the facts are half-baked and unfortunately for United, this whole situation has been blown out of proportion.
The first thing to understand is that the man on the plane was breaking FAA regulations. When a flight attendant asks you to do something, no matter what it is, you are required to do whatever they ask you as soon as possible. This is for the safety of everyone on the flight. Planes can be very cramped and if people stop listening to a flight attendant then chaos can erupt out of the smallest of things and whether the plane is in the air or on the ground, this rule always applies.
It is also extremely important that pilots and flight attendants get on their flights as quickly as possible because if a pilot must wait an extra four hours to get on the next open flight to his destination, then the plane they’re supposed to fly is going to have to wait all that extra time for him to arrive. While many regular passengers do have important things to do and see all around the world, airlines try to make as many passengers as happy as possible and it’s better to delay one person than fifty on the next flight out.
The man in question was first approached in a calm manner. The flight attendant explained the situation and said she would have to ask him to leave because the seat he was in was needed for a United employee. The man refused to get off the plane. The United employee still did not call anyone else for assistance, explaining that the man would get a large sum of money and a seat on the next flight to his destination as well as a free hotel and food vouchers that could last a week. The man still refused and started getting more and more upset, so the United employee called security and tried to pass the issue off to them.
This is where many mistakes occurred that caused the scandal we are all hearing about so much. United should never have let the man board the plane before they told him that he would have to leave. As a common courtesy, they should give the passenger in question at least somewhat of a heads-up. United has corrected this issue by only allowing United employees to get a ticket on a plane an hour before. Anything past that will not be accepted and that is a perfect solution to their mistake.
That was the only mistake United made but that’s not the only thing they got blamed for. Two out of three of the security guards that were called tried to handle the situation calmly. However, the third was short tempered and aggressive. That guard handled the situation with no patience and even less understanding. He was violent and rushed, grabbing the man and physically dragging him off the plane with the reluctant help of the two other guards.
The security guard who was violent is now suspended, which is fortunate for him. If all the blame had not been placed on United and instead on the airport’s security, that guard would have been fired in a matter of minutes.
After this event went viral, people flew United expecting employees to walk on eggshells, but this was not the case. United employees knew what was really going on and were waiting for it to patiently blow over. Another article started circulating about a couple claiming that they got randomly kicked off the flight on the way to their wedding.
What had actually happened was they kept trying to sit in empty first class seats and after multiple times of being asked nicely to move back to their original seats, they were asked to leave before the flight took off. A similar article was written about a girl who got kicked off a flight for wearing leggings. The reason she had gotten kicked off was because one of her relatives worked for United and was using one of her free flights. If you do use that program, you are asked to dress professionally and when that girl did not meet those requirements she was asked to leave.
As a society predominately revolving around technology, it’s very easy to take part in digital mob mentality, but we need to work harder on separating real news from news with only half of the facts and trying to hear both sides of the story before making a decision on which side to support.