In the cosmology of bureacratic evil, United Airlines is the prince of Hell.
Minutes before departure, already buckled into her seat, she was ordered to leave the plane. The gate agent told her that her reservation had been canceled. Traveler Help Desk, the online agency that sold the ticket, had rescinded it because the landlord made a change directly through United — even though United had assured the landlord that it was not a problem to do so.
Unable to fly, Ms. Amrich drove through the night, not stopping even to use the bathroom. Her sister, in the hospital room, held a phone to their mother’s ear, and Ms. Amrich begged her to hold on.
She was still driving when her cellphone rang again. Her mother was dead.
I can just see the agent's smile when they told her that “nobody flies for free.”
When she complained, United called her landord, to get her address, to send her flowers.
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• TSA says it doesn't know why United thought comics were banned from checked Comic-Con luggage Read the rest
A United Airlines flight traveling from Munich, Germany to Newark, NJ had to make an emergency landing at London Heathrow Airport after several passengers complained of feeling light-headed and nauseous after food was served. Paramedics came on board and took one passenger off the plane.
According to American Council on Science and Health:
One individual was taken off the plane by EMS and the rest were formally assessed, ultimately booked into hotels and rerouted to their final destinations. Other accounts on social media describe riders as wearing oxygen masks, though the photos published so far on such sites don’t demonstrate this to be the case.
Passenger Pete Teoh, who felt fine, tweeted about it:
The cause of the illnesses is still unknown (although it seems like it was some sort of food poisoning) and is being investigated.
Image: Pete Teoh/Twitter
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The Wall Street Journal reports
that human error is still a factor in potential cockpit door breaches. Read the rest
It hasn't been a good month for United Airlines – or, rather, its passengers. First Dr. Dao gets beat up by security while sitting in his United seat until he's toothless and unconscious, while on the same day a scorpion on another United flight stings a passenger in the hand. This week the unlucky passenger was Simon, a 3-foot-long rabbit who was being sent from Heathrow to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. He was perfectly healthy upon boarding the plane, but was found dead when it was time to deboard in Chicago.
According to The Telegraph:
“Simon had a vet’s check-up three hours before the flight and was fit as a fiddle,” breeder Annette Edwards, of Stoulton, Worcs, told The Sun.
“Something very strange has happened and I want to know what. I’ve sent rabbits all around the world and nothing like this has happened before.”
At least United Airlines had the good sense to apologize this time around.
"We were saddened to hear this news,” a United Airlines spokeswoman said, according to the Mirror.
"The safety and wellbeing of all the animals that travel with us is of the utmost importance to United Airlines and our PetSafe team.
"We have been in contact with our customer and have offered assistance. We are reviewing this matter."
Simon, who had just been sold to an unnamed celebrity and was on his way to meeting his new owner, was the son of Darius, a rabbit who measured 4' 4" long and holds the Guiness World Record for the world's longest rabbit. Read the rest
United Airlines employees are no longer allowed to forcibly remove seated passengers to swipe their seat. Instead, they must swipe seats before paying passengers board. "The airline has also raised the amount of money that supervisors can offer to compensate displaced passengers, from $1,350 to $10,000," says NYMag, "and announced that it will no longer ask law-enforcement officials to remove passengers from its planes unless they pose a security threat." Read the rest
United CEO Oscar Munoz said that passenger David Dao was "disruptive and belligerent" when he was told that he was going to be kicked off the plane after he bought a ticket and too his seat. But this newly released video shows Dao to be quite calm and reasonable given the circumstances. In the end, Dao was beaten senseless, his nose was broken, teeth were knocked out, and he suffered a concussion. United filled the empty seat with one of its employees.
From Teen Vogue:
On Monday, a video clip surfaced of Chicago Department of Aviation security officials brutally dragging Dao down the aisle of the plane on Sunday night for refusing to involuntarily give up his seat on a United flight went viral on social media. Shortly after the incident, United CEO Oscar Munoz told employees in an email that Dao had acted “disruptive and belligerent," which, in his words, left officers with no choice. However, passenger Joya Cummings uploaded new footage to Facebook showing the moments leading up to the officers' assault on Dao, and it shows a very different story.
“I’m a physician. I have to work tomorrow at 8 o’clock,” he told officers calmly in the video. "No, I am not going. I am not going."
Soon after, officers threatened to "drag [him]" off the plane if he didn't comply. “Then drag me down,” Dao told them. “I am staying right there.”
Also, it looks like United didn't have the legal right to ask police to remove Dao. Read the rest
[NSFW: violence] This man's suffering is not a joke. United customer service is a joke. Background.
(United parody logo by @skolanach) Read the rest
United Airlines had a passenger knocked unconscious and dragged violently from a full plane for refusing to yield his ticketed seat to an employee who wanted it. This is CEO Oscar Munoz's public apology, to those who needed to be re-accommodated.
Hopefully they'll never have an overbooked plane again. Read the rest
United Airlines offered passengers $800 to skip an overbooked flight: there were enough seats for the paying ticketholders, but not for several United employees who wanted to travel with the plane. With no takers, they started picking people at random to eject.
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Call it The Landmaid's Tale: two girls were barred from boarding a flight by a United Airlines agent Sunday, and the airline confirmed that leggings are against a dress policy it applies to people traveling on passes issued to employees and their dependents.
A United Airlines gate agent barred two girls from boarding a flight Sunday morning because the girls were wearing leggings.
Another girl who was wearing gray leggings had to change before she was allowed to board the flight from Denver to Minneapolis, a witness said.
“She’s forcing them to change or put dresses on over leggings or they can’t board,” Shannon Watts, who was at a gate at Denver International Airport said on Twitter. “Since when does @united police women’s clothing?”
The airline, when challenged, backed up its gate agent on Twitter.
"Casual attire is allowed as long as it looks neat and is in good taste for the local environment," tweeted a United Airlines spokesperson.
The "contract" referred to turns out to be very vague indeed, specifying only that passengers must be "properly clothed."
Later, though, United Airlines said that the girls were "United pass travelers" who are "United employees or their eligible dependents standing by on a space-available basis," meaning that the company was was applying an employee policy to someone "who was denied boarding this morning because her attire didn’t meet the United pass travel clothing requirements." Normal passengers' attire "doesn't need to meet the United pass travel clothing requirement," they wrote. Read the rest
A man with physical disabilities was forced to crawled off a plane at Reagan National Airport in Arlington VA, when United Airlines failed to provide him with help disembarking.
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It's a strange morning when stocks and planes are both shut down due to two separate computer glitches. First it was United Airlines at 8am ET, who was forced to ground all of its departing planes in the U.S. for nearly two hours, affecting 4,900 flights worldwide. Of course this caused huge delays for passengers, which could last for days. Just a couple of hours later, The New York Stock Exchange had to shut down for the day after a technical glitch "froze computers on the market's fabled trading floor." According to The Washington Times:
One of the world’s biggest stock exchanges had seen shares trending down throughout the morning because of economic crises in Greece and China, but all trading halted at 11:32 a.m. as data on trades and prices apparently stopped coming into the traders’ computer screens. Nearly an hour later, the market was still down...
As the shutdown pass the hour mark, the NYSE issued a new statement saying the shutdown was attributable to an “internal” computer malfunction and was not the result of an outside cyberattack.
I know it's most likely just a coincidence, but it's an interesting one.
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Garielle Bluestone on the flight from hell
: "Traveling means inevitably forgetting something at home, but America's most hated airline, United, took it to another level this week." Read the rest