Come fly with me? We don't think so

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A South Marion Citizen editorial

Last week was a bad one for two major airlines, United and American. Both had incidents that make you realize how arrogant some of the personnel who work for these companies are, and why they need to be reined in. Both raised all sorts of questions.

First, United. Take your favorite and biggest sports facility.Let’s say it seats thousands of people for baseball and basketball, more for the National Football League, or the University of Florida football for about 80,000.

What happens when you buy a ticket? It has a section, row and seat number printed on it. No matter when you get there, that seat is waiting for you to sit down and enjoy yourself.

So if sports teams can sell thousands of seats, and then shut off the sale when it’s a sellout, why can’t major airlines do the same thing with 200-300 seats?

The only reason we can think of is greed. Customer service doesn’t enter into the equation.

By now, almost everyone has seen the senior citizen doctor dragged off a plane because he refused to give up the seat he had paid for and had already taken possession of. Original stories said the flight was overbooked. But that wasn’t accurate. The airline needed to get a crew from Chicago to Louisville so they could make their next flight. The random selection was correct.

The manhandling of this doctor was unforgiveable.

The first question was why this decision was made at the last minute. Is United’s scheduling so poor that it doesn’t know where its crews are? If seats are needed for a crew, shouldn’t that become known before boarding?

And second, are you telling us that United doesn’t have private jets that can move crews around the country? We’ll bet that the president of the company doesn’t fly coach.

Then there’s American. Late last week a woman boarded a flight from the West Coast to Dallas with a small child and a stroller. A flight attendant evidently took the stroller from her, saying it wasn’t allowed, but reportedly wasn’t very gentle about it. Another passenger tried to intervene and the situation got ugly. She got through original security, to the gate and onto the plane.

So the question is this. Why was she allowed on the plane with the stroller if it wasn’t permitted? Are the people at the gate that incompetent that they don’t know the rules, or was the flight attendant that incompetent that he didn’t either understand the rules or have the ability to patiently handle the situation?

A lot of people aren’t too fond of airlines in the U.S., and the airlines, and regulators, need to take notice.