Is being violently ‘bumped’ off an airline the ‘new normal’?

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz is feeling “ashamed” – and so he should following the now infamous Gestapo-style removal of one of its paying passengers, (an elderly man), Dr. David Dao, who was forcibly ejected from a United Express flight last week – rendering the organisation to plummet into a PR chasm so deep it’ll probably never recover. And that is a shame for the decent, low-paid, hard-working staff employed by the organisation.  

  However, thanks to the power of social media, we all bore witness to the horrific video footage of the violent incident which occurred as the flight was preparing to leave O’Hare International in Chicago, resulting in worldwide outrage and calls for Munoz’s resignation… something which, at the time of writing, he was still refusing to offer.

  You see, in their own little minds, United had good reason to bully and beat an elderly man, and last week, as the geniuses working in their damage control department hastily huddled together to explain this horrendous treatment of a peaceful passenger, one who was not posing a threat to others, or to the airline, the explanation was that ’a seat was needed for a commuting crew member, and no one had volunteered to leave the plane. Dr. Dao was one of several chosen at random to leave the flight.’

  Now, as the Chicago Department of Aviation say the incident was “not in accordance with our standard operating procedure,” and that hauling an already seated client off a flight was “obviously not condoned by the department” it is however, apparently commonplace for airlines to overbook due to an expected ‘no show rate,’ which is industry terminology for passengers who book and then, for whatever reason, fail to arrive and board their flight. So far, so good; I can understand overbooking is a strategy which can apply to an airline’s commercial selling.  

  However, if a passenger is refused entry to an oversold flight for which the airline has already accepted payment, then there is a contract in place and it’s up to the airline to take responsibility and look after them, not beat the c**p out of them!

  However, strangely United Airlines is not the worst offender… when it comes to over-booking and bouncing passengers off a flight that is –  although their egregious ejection of Dr. Dao renders them as possibly the most violent – with approximately 67,000 people being ejected from their carriers last year due to over-booking, as opposed to, for example, the likes of Delta Air Lines ejecting 131,063, and Southwest Airlines ejecting 103,607.

  And so readers, if like me, you’re planning a little holiday this year; here’s something to bear in mind when booking your flight. According to Ryanair, ‘Unlike other airlines, Ryanair does not overbook flights,’ that’s good to know, although for personal reasons I no longer travel with this carrier. According to Aer Lingus, “As with all other airlines, our flights can be overbooked from time to time,’ however, they add, occurrences “are rare and in such an event we seek volunteers to travel on the next available flight and compensate the volunteers accordingly. Our procedure is to deal with these matters at the point of checking-in in order to minimise any disruption to our guests.”

  Well folks, Aer Lingus and Ryanair’s industry examples, which appear to be exemplary, are certainly a far cry from what we all witnessed occurring on United Airline’s Flight 3411 where heavy-handed goons bullied and beat an elderly gentleman, resulting in the ‘loss of two front teeth and a broken nose.’ 

  I can tell you, United Airlines are lucky that the roughed-up passenger wasn’t my father, ‘cos not only would a law suit be a certainty – mind you due to their shares plummeting by $1.4 billion there wouldn’t be much left to fight for –but I’d go ballistic on them too. As for Munoz, well, due to his insensitive, snivelling apology, I’d render him and his thugs’ credibility so low they’d all be lucky to get jobs cleaning bird poo from car windscreens!

Rescue 116 – dignified heroes

“We’re gone.”

  Two final, heartbreaking words, delivered with such calmness and such resigned dignity signalled the end for those brave but doomed heroes of Rescue 116.

  According to the interim report, data recovered from the black box paints a terrifying picture of one crewmember urging emergency evasive action as realisation suddenly dawned that Black Rock, a small island lying east of Blacksod on the Mullet Peninsula, lay ahead. To be honest, such was my upset, I didn’t want to read the transcript. You see, my granddaughter’s friend is related to one of the lost crewmen. However, sheer voyeurism meant I had to know what happened to those poor souls who had just 26 seconds to react, to try and raise their chopper in order to avoid an impact with an obstacle whose data was not being picked up on their early warning system. How could this have happened? How could these amazing individuals have been ‘flying blind’, why were they rendered powerless, relying on information that wasn’t available to them and why are they dead? I mean, how many more rescue choppers/vessels are out there trying to save lives but, at the same time, relying on information not yet mapped on their technology?

  The entire crew of 116 displayed a remarkable level of calmness; their courage and judgement in the face of grave danger, and then their precise and immediate perception of the fatal situation confronting them was absolutely outstanding. May their sacrifice never be forgotten and may they all rest in peace.

Disgusting attack on our Gardaí

As a force, an Garda Síochána has been dogged by scandal and controversy for many years, the latest being the bogus alcohol breath tests it claimed were carried out on motorists between 2012/2016, but I for one believe our boys and girls in blue on the ground deserve our full respect and support and as law-abiding citizens, I feel we should all stand together to aid and assist them in their role.

  That’s why I’m disgusted that two of our Gardaí, a male and a female, were savagely set upon by three thugs in Claremorris, County Mayo last week.

  Now while our Gardaí are trained to protect themselves, they simply don’t have what I would deem to be the necessary tools of the trade –  leaving them practically defenceless when faced with scumbags who are intent on causing as much damage as possible. Mind you, the offenders will surely have some bleeding heart story and a ‘softly, softly’ judge will probably strike out their charges ‘cos he/she doesn’t want the poor darlings to have a criminal conviction… bless. Ah, sure with that attitude, is it any wonder such scum are given carte blanche to roam our streets with impunity, beating the bejaysus out of our Gardaí and us?

  Look, I don’t care if daddy went AWOL, I don’t care if mammy didn’t love ya, I don’t care if you’re misunderstood…if you attack people trying to do their job defending our country’s citizens you’re an a***hole and all bets are off!