Thursday, April 27, 2017

Free markets are showing the conservative way forward

In this post regarding the recent beating of an innocent ticketed passenger who did not want to be removed from a flight I explained how that incident was not some small thing to be dismissed quickly but rather another sign of a major turning point in the cycle between liberalism and conservatism.  At that time the CEO had changed his tune from being dismissive of the incident to actually apologizing not once but twice in a very public manner. 

Why did he do this?  Because United actually has to work for a living and the economy is slip-slip-slipping away according to many major indicators.  The middle class is screwed and the highly paid boomers are moving into retirement at 10k people per day.  Business is going to get harder, not easier going forward. United realized once the herd stood up for itself that this kind of "I don't give a fuck what you think" attitude from a corporation was going to cost a Hell of a lot more than the lawsuit they will lose when that doctor sues them.  People are now openly angry and aggressive toward United and the share price dropped.  That was the warning to the CEO to change his tune.

Note that at the same time, the fuckhead police were still blaming the victim saying that he was "aggressive" and fought with officers about being removed (and therefore apparently deserved to have two teeth knocked out of his mouth and to be drug unconscious off the plane like a piece of meat).  United could have tried to hide behind that report.  The CEO could have said that if the police said he was aggressive and combative  then perhaps United was not so much at fault as it might seem from the video.  Not too many months ago that is exactly what would have happened.  But unlike the fucking useless "zero tolerance" police state cops, United has a profit motive and is ultimately controlled by that sweet feedback loop of the free market that keeps all kinds of totalitarian behavior in check.

As a result, United (and everyone else apparently) has scrambled to put a formal policy in place to pay up to $10k to bribe passengers off the plane if the airline has overbooked.  This is as it should be.  There is always a market for any transaction if the price is right.  Police state tactics of simply beating your face in and dragging you off the flight because you would not accept the initial shit offer of $400-$600 to vacate are officially over.  Now there will be a free market auction for overbooking situations. 

In addition I got yet another email from United with an even larger mea culpa that you can read below.  The worm is officially turning.

Dear Mr xxxxxxxx,

Each flight you take with us represents an important promise we make to you, our customer. It's not simply that we make sure you reach your destination safely and on time, but also that you will be treated with the highest level of service and the deepest sense of dignity and respect.
Earlier this month, we broke that trust when a passenger was forcibly removed from one of our planes. We can never say we are sorry enough for what occurred, but we also know meaningful actions will speak louder than words.
For the past several weeks, we have been urgently working to answer two questions: How did this happen, and how can we do our best to ensure this never happens again?
It happened because our corporate policies were placed ahead of our shared values. Our procedures got in the way of our employees doing what they know is right.
Fixing that problem starts now with changing how we fly, serve and respect our customers. This is a turning point for all of us here at United – and as CEO, it's my responsibility to make sure that we learn from this experience and redouble our efforts to put our customers at the center of everything we do.
That’s why we announced that we will no longer ask law enforcement to remove customers from a flight and customers will not be required to give up their seat once on board – except in matters of safety or security.
We also know that despite our best efforts, when things don’t go the way they should, we need to be there for you to make things right. There are several new ways we’re going to do just that.
We will increase incentives for voluntary rebooking up to $10,000 and will be eliminating the red tape on permanently lost bags with a new "no-questions-asked" $1,500 reimbursement policy. We will also be rolling out a new app for our employees that will enable them to provide on-the-spot goodwill gestures in the form of miles, travel credit and other amenities when your experience with us misses the mark. You can learn more about these commitments and many other changes at
While these actions are important, I have found myself reflecting more broadly on the role we play and the responsibilities we have to you and the communities we serve.
I believe we must go further in redefining what United's corporate citizenship looks like in our society. You can and ought to expect more from us, and we intend to live up to those higher expectations in the way we embody social responsibility and civic leadership everywhere we operate. I hope you will see that pledge express itself in our actions going forward, of which these initial, though important, changes are merely a first step.
Our goal should be nothing less than to make you truly proud to say, "I fly United."
Ultimately, the measure of our success is your satisfaction and the past several weeks have moved us to go further than ever before in elevating your experience with us. I know our 87,000 employees have taken this message to heart, and they are as energized as ever to fulfill our promise to serve you better with each flight and earn the trust you’ve given us.
We are working harder than ever for the privilege to serve you and I know we will be stronger, better and the customer-focused airline you expect and deserve.
With Great Gratitude,
Oscar Munoz
Oscar Munoz
United Airlines

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