Take things with a grain of salt…

So. The Media.

I’ve been finding it so difficult lately to know what the actual “truth” is in so many things going on in the world: Syria, Russia, Egypt and their relationships with the United States, DT as the current president and all of the BS with that, the United Airlines uproar…

There are always 2 sides to a story. And are we, as people who are not necessarily directly involved in these situations, hearing accurately what is happening? It’s doubtful.

For example, the United situation.

I watched the video of the United passenger being dragged off of the flight. And I felt outraged. Like, WTF are they doing?!

But then I thought, wait…was this man mentally ill? Was he a danger to other passengers? Are there any missing pieces of information that this short video isn’t showing?

And there was. As there often are.

This is what I have gleaned from various sources. A 79 year old man (who says he is also a doctor) of Vietnamese descent was told that he is one of 4 passengers randomly selected to get off of a United flight. This man was a full paying customer. Apparently there were United flight attendants that needed to take this particular flight because they were short employees for flights out of the destination (aka someone didn’t show up for work, or something like that). If these employees did not catch this flight, then apparently flights would be delayed until they had enough staff members available to work the flights or simply canceled. So, United decided to bump off 4 passengers. This man was one of the unfortunate people chosen.

First off, he claimed that it was racism that he had been chosen to get off. Then he absolutely refused to get off. A later video that I watched had him saying that he will not get off of the flight and that they’d have to drag him off if they wanted him off. Which they did drag him off.

Now, I think there are so many variables to this situation and I think that both sides are at fault.

I think the United policy about being able to bump fully paid passengers off of a flight is ridiculous. If you pay for a flight, you expect to get on it. I do. And, if it is an overbooked flight, then make it lucrative for a passenger to CHOOSE to get off of the flight.

That said, apparently there is a fine print that says all airlines have the right to bump passengers, even if they are fully-paid passengers.

I did NOT know this.

So, for me, while the reality of the situation SUCKS…I mean, I can feel for this man…that SUCKS, the way he responded was completely irrational and ridiculous, in my opinion. The fact that he claimed it was racism that he was chosen. That he didn’t think that he should be the one to be chosen and that someone else should have to get off instead of him. I believe that a man who is 79 years old and a doctor should have better reasoning skills. If it were me, I think I would try to negotiate with other passengers. And now that I’m aware of it, suggest to United to up the compensation to make it more appealing to other passengers.

I would not stubbornly insist that I should not have to get off of my flight. I wouldn’t then say, “You’re going to have to drag me off if you want me off”. Then, when the law enforcement people DO drag him off (which he initially resists and is screaming wildly), he bumps his head on an armrest and starts bleeding (the cynical part of me wonders if he did that on purpose to make it more dramatic). THEN, apparently he manages to run back on to the plane and is saying “Kill me. Just kill me”. Okay Dude. You created this part of the situation yourself by resisting leaving the plane. It sounds completely like a parent and child interaction. A child of, say, 4 years old having a major tantrum. Because that’s what it was: a big ol’ tantrum. I see them every single day when the children I work with don’t get what they want. They pitch a tantrum much like this man did. That is what I expect young children to do. Not a 79 year old doctor.

The worst part for me is the indignation of everybody against United. Yes, the policy is really DUMB and ENRAGING. No doubt about that. Especially after people have already boarded…I think that should not be allowed. And I think that using physical force is not okay.

But it’s the current reality. When we board planes, that’s what we are agreeing to. And there are much, much better ways that the whole interaction could have been handled.

Most people online are making this man into a poor victim, saying that United brutalized him. What they’re not remembering is that United is not the ones who pulled him off of the plane: that was security.

But most people online have absolutely no compassion for what it takes to run an airline and coordinate 100s of flights every day. And yes, mistakes are made in scheduling…people getting sick etc…

But they’re Human, just like the rest of us. So why is it okay to then take a dump on people who are trying to do their jobs and make decisions that are best for most people as a whole, and perhaps not for the one or two people (or in this case, 4) people who are bumped? Apparently the employees that took their seats were threatened and treated badly. It was not their choice.

I think we need to get off of our high horses and try out some empathy. I can see both sides of this equation: the side of the passenger and the side of United’s employees. It’s easy to see United as a corporation and not see the fellow humans that are running it.

That said, I think there are some changes that United needs to make in some of its policies. It’s unfortunate that it probably took this overdramaticized event to happen for these changes to start in motion.

Bottom line: don’t believe everything that you read or see. Look into it. And then do your best to make an informed decision. Too often we spread misinformation because of that. I’m guilty of it.

Time to make a change! xo

*M

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