Anyone who flies on a regular basis knows that almost all airlines overbook their popular flights. Some travelers may even like the idea that if they get ‘bumped’ from their scheduled flight because the airline was greedy and oversold that flight, they can at least collect a ‘bribe’ for a more expensive flight at another time.
But boy did United Airlines take this fraudulent practice to a new low, after literally dragging a passenger off of a plane on Sunday because no one would accept the ‘voucher bribe’ they offered. As a result, they chose to sacrifice a seemingly random – and definitely unwilling – passenger by dragging him off of the plane.
For the flying public, the episode served as a stark reminder that a seat isn’t guaranteed until a flight is airborne. Almost half a million passengers on major U.S. airlines got bumped last year, but most of them volunteered to lose their seats in return for credits for future flights.
But this episode actually may have done some good for frequent flyers, because it brings to light a practice that really does constitute fraud, regardless of how much fine print the airlines’ lawyers can shove down our throats.
Good business is good business and this practice is abusive to the customers of any airline that engages in it. This is of course a huge business opportunity for any airline that commits to not defrauding its customers in such a rude manner.