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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

The United Clip

I saw the notorious United video clip, and in all honesty, I wouldn’t want to be on the same flight with the crazy “doctor.” Overbooked flights are super annoying but his reaction is beyond unhinged. I’m not on his side. 

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19 thoughts on “The United Clip

  1. Stringer Bell on said:

    Just two sides here: his side and the side of the cops who beat him up.

    Asking cops to beat up and drag a passenger with a boarding pass instead of just upping the compensation until someone agrees to leave voluntarily is even more unhinged.

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  2. Shakti on said:

    Doctor or no “doctor”, it’s irrelevant to how they treated him. It was completely unnecessary to beat him up.

    Honestly nobody was cheering or clapping which is what usually happens when an unhinged person is dragged off the plane. When a flight is overbooked, they ask people to get bumped before they board people. This is not what happened, at all. They took the tickets and boarded everyone. They kicked off people because they didn’t bother to account for their own crew.

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    • Do you think his was a normal reaction to this clearly unpleasant situation? Would you resist and grab on to the seat refusing to move in such a situation? Or would you get off the plane and register your anger verbally through lodging a complaint, posting on Facebook, writing a bad review, etc?

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      • anonP on said:

        I didn’t see the clip, but European media reported that his wife and child were on the plane. Would you calmly walk off the plane if they tried to take you off while N and Klara were to remain there?

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        • I would NEVER, not in any circumstances, throw such a tantrum if not only mine but any child were present. I hope it wasn’t a small child, at least, because if he did it to a child under the age of 12-13, that’s a case for social services to get involved.

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          • Remember that movie Life is Beautiful? When the Nazis are taking away the Dad and the little boy is watching? The Dad pretends it’s all a funny joke. That’s how a father acts.

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  4. It wasn’t overbooked, though. Overbooked flights are solved before everyone’s on board. Here, every passenger was boarded and then an off-duty crew came to the gate and said they needed seats. There were definitely alternatives available–no one needed to be kicked off the flight. United could have sent the crew in a car, for example, or a bus. Or the cops who came to escort the passenger could have tried diffusing the situation–like they’re supposed to be trained to do. Or they could have just continued offering more compensation until someone volunteered. I’m not saying the passenger was justified in acting the way he did. But United is clearly wrong here. There were so many things that could have been done to avoid it, or to deescalate it once the problem cropped up.

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    • My question remains, though. If you are asked to leave a space – completely unfairly and wrongly – would you scream, yell and grab onto the seat, refusing to go?

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  5. Shakti on said:

    United seems determined to piss off every single customer

    Apparently first class buys you: the opportunity to stay on the plane after being threatened with handcuffs to get out of your first class seat. Also a lack of a beatdown.

    What it doesn’t buy you: the right to sit in your first class seat peacefully.

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    • I just read that the fellow was moaning “Just kill me, just kill me.” Poor passengers who were deprived of the company of this very normal fellow on the flight.

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      • Shakti on said:

        I should have made it clear that my link was about a completely different person with a different ticket on a different flight.

        As for Dao’s bizarre behavior after he managed to get back on the plane, the dude had a concussion. (Frankly, how fucking incompetent do you have to be to beat someone up, drag them off a plane and somehow manage to have them escape right back onto a plane?) Some medical conditions manifest as belligerency and confusion. Try dealing with someone having a hypogylcemic attack, for example. They often look drunk.

        As to your question, “Why are we still on this freak?”

        It’s not about “this freak.”

        People get anxious and weird about airports and airplanes because of their symbolic importance (and not just because airplanes are confined spaces. Nobody freaks out this much about buses or cars.) Draw a through line through of nation state collapse, globalization, terrorism and economic anxiety through all of the enacting of securitized, authoritarian nonsense rituals. (Carrying on a giant bottle of any liquid: potential murder weapon! Packing a gun in your suitcase: Please do!) We live in a big country, parts of which aren’t accessible in any reasonable amount of time by other means. For example, could I theoretically drive from Florida to Pittsburgh? Sure. Do I have five days to waste in just travel time? Fuck no.

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        • I think it’s all much simpler. The fellow is a crook with a criminal history. He saw a chance to get a big payoff. He threw a fit, made himself famous, and will now get his payoff and live happily ever after. Identifying with him is a mistake, a trap. He is nothing like you or me.

          Which is why he will be rich, I guess, and we won’t. :-)(

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  6. Agree with you on the guy having some serious problems, but that doesn’t make the situation United caused any less fucked up. This is not how you handle an overbooked flight.

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  7. Nelson on said:

    Alexandra Petri writes hilariously about victim blaming:

    Crucified man had prior run-in with authorities

    The gentleman arrested Thursday and tried before Pontius Pilate had a troubled background.

    Born (possibly out of wedlock?) in a stable, this jobless thirty-something of Middle Eastern origin had had previous run-ins with local authorities for disturbing the peace, and had become increasingly associated with the members of a fringe religious group. He spent the majority of his time in the company of sex workers and criminals.

    He had had prior run-ins with local authorities — most notably, an incident of vandalism in a community center when he wrecked the tables of several licensed money-lenders and bird-sellers. He had used violent language, too, claiming that he could destroy a gathering place and rebuild it.

    At the time of his arrest, he had not held a fixed residence for years. Instead, he led an itinerant lifestyle, staying at the homes of friends and advocating the redistribution of wealth.

    He had come to the attention of the authorities more than once for his unauthorized distribution of food, disruptive public behavior, and participation in farcical aquatic ceremonies.

    Some say that his brutal punishment at the hands of the state was out of proportion to and unrelated to any of these incidents in his record.

    But after all, he was no angel.

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  8. And then she posted some pics of fluffy kittens on Instagram, wept over the suffering of Somalian children on Facebook and cried over her favorite romance novel while waiting for an Oprah rerun.

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