I’m not here to defend United Airlines’ policy on bumping, but there is a policy. They do bump. I know it and I’m not even a flier. So how do I know airlines bump? I saw it on websites when checking out ticket prices for a friend. Tickets or reservations (or however termed) were subject to b-u-m-p-i-n-g. If I know it, I would think someone that flies would know it, too.
But I regress before I even begin.
It’s easy to feel sorry for a customer that is being bumped that really doesn’t want to be, but the recent story of the gentleman being dragged off the plane takes us into more than simply policy and good or bad PR for the airline.
It doesn’t matter if bumping is right or wrong – nice or mean – it is allowed by rules, policy, regulations & law.
United Airlines could have perhaps handled the situation better, but it isn’t all on them and it doesn’t end with them.
As the story goes – the gentleman was one of the four randomly picked to be bumped after there were no volunteers. He refused. He had no right to refuse. And that is where the point missed begins.
The man had no right to refuse. He should have left when the airline personnel asked him to, but he didn’t. So, the security & police were called. He still refused. He passive resisted. He was physically taken out of his seat. He apparently hit his face. (Did the officers cause that or was it due to his fighting that it happened?)
When did it become okay for people to simply refuse to obey rules and/or lawful directives of those in authority?
When did it become acceptable to act like spoiled little three year olds? Acceptable to simply defy and say no? Acceptable to throw tantrums and even assault parents or teachers or officers when not getting one’s way? And when did these tantrum throwers become the hero victims defying the mean old authority figures instead of what they are — people acting inappropriately?
The so-called protesters that looted and destroyed, defying and threatening police – have been portrayed as the social justice warriors out to right the wrongs in this world. They weren’t and they aren’t. They are thugs. They are criminals. There was nothing about their behavior to be proud of.
The people that refuse to obey the lawful order of a police officer, claiming they know their rights, are beyond annoying. No one has the right to question them or tell them what to do, especially a cop? Some try passive resist. Some swing. Many cuss. Others question, “What did I do? What did I do?” though they have been told perhaps 50 times what they have done. It’s irrational. It’s spoiled brat defiant behavior that one might expect of an out-of-control three year old. Sadly, too often, it’s adults behaving in such a shameful way.
The question is…
Who has to follow the rules and who doesn’t? Who has to follow directives and who doesn’t? Who gets to decide who has to obey? What happens if the person decides not to obey the rules & persons you appoint as the decider? What happens if the person says, “no”?
A person goes to the bank and accidentally pays the teller too much on a loan. The customer immediately realizes the mistake and asks for the extra back. The teller says, “no”. Do you simply walk away? After all, the teller said, “no”.
A person takes your seat and theirs on the plane. There are no others. If you have no seat, you must get off the plane. You ask the person to allow you your seat. They say, “no”. You have the attendant ask the person. They still say, “no”. Do you simply walk away? After all, the person said, “no”.
A person is leaning against your car. You ask them to move so you can leave. They say “no”. Do you simply walk away? After all, the person said, “no”.
A person has a knife and is threatening to kill someone. A police officer asks the person to stop and give him the knife. The person says, “no”. Does the officer simply walk away? After all, the person said, “no”.
Exactly when is it permissible to expect a person to obey the rules and laws? And if they don’t? If they say no? What then? Simply walk away?
The point missed in the airline case is often missed.
United Airlines may be wrong to have a bump rule, as I assume most other airlines do, but they do. It exists. And while one might feel sorry for the unlucky man that got bumped, he was wrong, too. He didn’t have a right to refuse to leave the plane. He didn’t have the right to resist the officers. He had no right to say, “no” and expect the airline personnel or officers to simply walk away.
That’s a major point. That’s a point that keeps getting missed.
Yes, I’m sorry the man was bumped. I’m sorry he got hurt. However, from all appearances, it was his decision and actions that escalated the situation and led to him being injured. He made a choice. He refused to obey the rules & directives. Now the officers are blamed for not simply walking away. After all, he said “no”! Isn’t that all that matters in this entitled world we have come to find ourselves in? Sure seems so.
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