It’s been a rough week for United Airlines. Despite CEO, Oscar Muñoz, being named PRWeek U.S. Communicator Of The Year for 2017, the brand is struggling to communicate why folks should love it. Or even like it. In addition to the doctor-turned-felon David Doa who was forcibly dragged off an overbooked flight that wasn’t actually overbooked, United has decreased its fleet in Houston, and someone got stung by a scorpion.
“I continue to be disturbed by what happened on this flight, and I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard,” Muñoz said in a statement. “No one should ever be mistreated this way.”
Sophia Beausoleil of KPRC News reported that Harry T.Sun of the Houston Chinese Chamber of Commerce expressed disgust and dismay at the treatment of Doa. Upon watching the video for the first time, Mr. Sun said, “I thought this was North Korea, not in the US.”
Sophia also did some very nice coverage of Rep. Al Green who held a press conference alongside many Asian Houstonians to address the airline’s contraversy.
— Sophia Beausoleil (@kprc2sophiab) April 11, 2017
Green said airlines need better protocol for how airline staff should proceed when a flight is overbooked.
“This is bad policy for the customer, the employees and United Airlines,” Green said. “All Americans should be protected from this type of forcible removal. If this can happen to any one of us without liability, it can happen to every one of us with impunity.”
Adding to Houstonian’s ire, United announced in January that they’re “shifting capacity away from Houston and into other growing markets, like Denver and San Francisco.”
Houston Chronicle reports that, “United Airlines will stop flying its Dreamliner aircraft from Bush Intercontinental Airport later this year as it transfers the fuel-efficient fleet to Washington, D.C.. The shift of Boeing 787s, which have been described as the aircraft of the future, is scheduled to take effect at the end of October. It will not affect the Chicago-based airline’s international flights out of Houston, and none of the company’s Houston-based pilots will lose their jobs.”
One of the most strange complaints against United Airlines was found on Twitter. A recent Houston-to-Calgary passenger implied that there was a scorpion on the airplane and he got stung.
Now United Airlines has to deal with a passenger from Houston to Calgary stung by a scorpion on the plane today. What a quality airline.
— Free Woody (@CHEZ106WOODY) April 11, 2017
According to the UK Daily Mail, “Richard and Linda Bell were on United flight 1418 flying home through Houston from a vacation in Mexico when a feisty, eight-legged creature showed up. The scorpion fell on Mr. Bell’s head from the overhead compartment.”
It’s not clear whether Free Woody and Richard Bell are the same gentleman. And the scorpion sounds more like a freak accident than the fault of United. Nevertheless, it’s one weird headline in a succession of many very weird headlines.
Past Harris Country Sherrif and Houston community leader, Adrian Garcia, called the controversial expelling of David Doa a “terrible event. Garcia, asked “what guarantees that anyone of us won’t go through this in the future?”
In response to someone pointing out that Doa should have complied when asked to leave the plane, Mr. Garcia tweeted, “Why? You buy a ticket legally, you complied w/security, you have a personal/professional schedule to keep & United intentionally over sold.”
Later, Garcia updated his feed to reflect news that the flight had in fact not been oversold.
Why? You buy a ticket legally, you complied w/security, you have a personal/professional schedule to keep & United intentionally over sold. https://t.co/Uc570Txuef
— Adrian Garcia (@AdrianGarciaHTX) April 11, 2017
Then, conservative juggernaut Michael Berry weighed in, tweeting …
— Michael Berry (@MichaelBerrySho) April 11, 2017
and retweeting …
We now join the United Airlines emergency response team interview in progess: pic.twitter.com/FHrH9eViMB
— Super 70s Sports (@Super70sSports) April 11, 2017
To our knowledge, Chuck Norris hasn’t made any statements about the incident. However, it’s safe to say that Chuck Norris would have just ridden on a wing. Chuck Norris doesn’t need a seat.
In yet another blow against the company, United Flight 118, which was traveling from Houston, had to make an emergency landing as it approached Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Apparently, the pilot complained of fumes in the cockpit. Thankfully, the plane landed safely and nobody was hurt.