UNITED STATES—Man, it seems like ever since the United Airlines debacle we are hearing about a new incident involving the friendly skies every single week. I mean either there is some illness going around or people are literally finding ANY opportunity to present to place any of the major airline companies in a negative light. First, we heard about the guy being dragged off the flight after refusing to give up his seat.
Yeah, that one made national waves, but is likely to become news of the past now that a major settlement has been reached. Too bad Americans will never know how much money United Airlines shelled out to sweep this fiasco under the rug. Let’s just say it was some millions. Last week it was an incident involving a woman, a baby, a car seat and a flight attendant on another airline that nearly turned into a brawl. And I’ll be honest; I’m still trying to wrap my mind around why a stroller would be allowed on a plane in the first place.
Video of the aftermath of the flight attendant nearly striking the baby (according to allegations) with the stroller has made the rounds, but no actual video of the incident itself has been unleashed. Now, this week we have reports of another incident involving a captain and a passenger getting into a minor scuffle. There are also reports of a passenger being kicked off a Delta plane after deciding to use the restroom as the plane was about to take off. Is there a money grab going on with passengers traveling through the friendly skies, or in my personal opinion, the not so friendly skies?
The big question for me is rather this has ALWAYS been a trend, and we’re just hearing about it now because everyone is starting to utilize the cameras and video devices on their phones? It seems so. However, I’ve pointed this out in a recent column that it is nothing new for the airline companies to overbook flights. People this has been happening for years and I mean years. However, if I was asked to be removed from my flight and the airline is willing to pay me several hundred or thousand, in addition to my flight fare, hell yeah I’ll depart the plane, especially if I don’t have a pressing matter where I have to be at a destination right away.
Now, dealing with the TSA and the airport mayhem is never fun, but if I can pocket some extra cash simply because the airline needs me to give up a seat for whatever reason (as long as I’m personally not being singled out or discriminated against), I’m all for it. This is in no way condoning the actions of United Airlines and officers at O’Hare airport who removed that passenger with physicality; that was just unacceptable, beyond disturbing and simply outrageous. I mean the guy was visibly injured and bleeding from the face. That should have raised some eyebrows for some people, but the airline is now paying the price for their actions and rightfully so.
My biggest concern is I don’t want this to become a trend where it seems every passenger on a plane is looking for a way to turn something into nothing in hopes of becoming the next big Internet sensation or news story of the week, or worse looking for a payout. It’s no secret Americans love to sue, anyway possible to earn a quick buck, it’s a shame to acknowledge this, but it’s so true. Someone looked at me wrong, it’s time to sue! With all the chaos week after week about incidents transpiring on airplanes, I’m starting to think driving by car, by train, or by bus might be a more suitable form of transportation.
However, the airplane is the quickest mode of transportation and let’s face it: there are some places where flying is the only option. Do I think people will ever stop flying? Never, do I suspect more complaints about the friendly skies in our future without a doubt, and if it’s warranted that is one thing, but if it’s not that is something we need to address people.