It's Time to Boycott United

Journalists respond to the upsetting viral video of a passenger being removed
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2017 7:46 PM CDT
It's Time to Boycott United
This Sunday, April 9, 2017, image made from a video provided by Audra D. Bridges shows a passenger being removed from a United Airlines flight in Chicago.    (Audra D. Bridges via AP)

United Airlines' treatment of a passenger who was forcibly removed from an overbooked flight is the final straw, writes Adam Clark Estes on Gizmodo: It's time for a boycott. "There are plenty of other airlines out there that don’t abuse passengers and refuse to apologize," Estes writes. "Other airlines will gladly take your money and make sure you get to your destination without enlisting a muscleman to slam your head into an armrest and forcibly remove you from the plane so that one of its employees can get a free flight." This, by the way, is "just the latest in an increasingly enraging pattern of bad behavior by the airline"; other reasons to boycott United include, but are not limited to, the time United diverted a flight to kick off an autistic child and the time it refused to give an unopened can of soda to a Muslim chaplain on one of its flights.

Estes is far from the only person outraged—Sasha Lekach at Mashable calls United's attempts at apologizing for the situation "meaningless corporate jargon" that just enraged people more. At the Los Angeles Times, Michael Hiltzik says United's handling of the entire incident was "botched" and shameful, but notes that the real problem is that the law allows airlines to overbook, even at risk of a situation like this. "How many businesses do you know of that can sell you a good or service, accept payment, and then withdraw that good or service unilaterally for their own purposes—much less by force?" At Slate, Daniel Gross calls the overbooking system airlines use "ridiculous" and "outdated," and notes that lately, more passengers than usual are getting bumped from overbooked flights, a fair number of them involuntarily: It's time for "a better way," he writes. If you find yourself in the same unfortunate situation as the United passenger, Quartz offers up an explainer of what you're legally entitled to. (More United Airlines stories.)

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