Joe Bob Briggs writes:
The official legend: United Airlines overbooks a flight from Chicago to Louisville, and when there are no volunteers willing to give up their seats, the airline orders four people to get off the plane—but one of them refuses to go, so the police drag him off the plane, in the process brutalizing him, causing serious injury. Fortunately his appalled fellow passengers capture the entire episode on their iPhones, and the viral video forces United to apologize due to fears of a national boycott, pay a huge settlement to the passenger and his family, and refund the fares of everyone who was on the flight (presumably because they are traumatized by the beating).
The actual facts of the matter: The flight was not overbooked. United lied about that in its first statement to the media. It was the last flight of the day, and the airline needed the four seats for a United crew that would be flying out of Louisville the next morning.
And let’s not let United off the hook. The plane was flying 269 miles, it wasn’t flying to fricking Venezuela. You could have put the four crew members in an Uber car for $714.02, airport to airport, and when I looked up that fare Uber was having a surge, so it might have been even cheaper. That’s actually a savings of $2,485.98 over what United said it was willing to pay out in vouchers. Given a choice between inconveniencing employees and inconveniencing passengers, why not just do that? It would actually be poetic justice—one of the four crew members would have to take the dreaded middle seat.