Everyone is talking about #BumpGate, where United Airlines involuntarily denied boarding to a medical professional after he had already boarded, resulting in the Chicago Aviation Police physically removing him.
You can see the offending activity right here:
That video that I shared above, in 14 hours had 65,000 views.
Was #BumpGate Over Covered in the Blogosphere?
From a quick look at the BoardingArea landing page, there are a total of 45 links to posts. Of those 45, there are 17 posts on the topic. That’s to say that roughly 38% of posts cover United’s #BumpGate. Is that a lot? I’m not sure, it seems like a lot.
I realize that I’m definitely missing some, probably more than a handful. For example, View from the Wing has 5 posts, One Mile at a Time has 4 posts on the topic. As a percentage of posts written today, that’s a pretty high percentage for both, but, perhaps not as crazy as back when it was breaking news that the Chase Ink Plus sign up bonus was bumped from 50k to 60k Ultimate Rewards Points. That one had 7 posts by a single blogger, So maybe 5 posts in a single day is pretty high.
This is a huge issue for United. The second of which in 2 weeks. I shared my thoughts of #LeggingGate as part of a weekly, because I didn’t think it was that big a deal. It was bigger only because of social media and someone that had only parts of the story. I would offer that #BumpGate is a lot more serious for a number of reasons:
- Violence should always be a last resort
- While United was technically in the right based on their Contracts of Carriage, there is such a thing as going too far
- At some point, the passenger could’ve seen the writing on the wall. Its not his fault, but he could have also said “ok, I’ve tried to stay, if I’m going to go, I can do it on my own two feet.” Of course, to that point, it wouldn’t surprise me if everyone onboard, including the passenger, didn’t think it would actually happen. I know I wouldn’t have believed it, if I hadn’t seen it in the video
- So far as I understand it, the gate staff knew that they were overbooked, yet the still boarded the plane. It all could have ended before it started, had the gate agent merely not let those individuals that would have been involuntarily denied boarding onboard.
Ultimately, it is a shame for us to see something like that video above, happening anywhere, let alone in the US. I mean, it was only a couple of years ago that United had a “self upgrader” removed from a plane in Shanghai. It is just unfortunate to see anywhere.
While Social Media and the blogosphere have the duty to report on these things, there’s a certain point, where it seems to get out of hand. Many on twitter have commented how everyone is an expert on the Contract of Carriage today. Everyone is an armchair quarterback, myself included. Could things have been done better? Yes. Should United change is policy? Maybe, or maybe they should just figure out a better way to enforce it–like not boarding before choosing.
Either way, the situation was regrettable, unacceptable, and does not help in the way that the world sees United.
What do you think?