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Op-ed Placement

United Airlines Overbooking Fiasco Should Never Have Happened

Originally Published in on 4/11/17.

Can the airlines really be this stupid?

By now, nearly everyone has seen the video of a passenger being dragged off a United Airlines flight. Most Americans -- especially frequent flyers -- are horrified. Airlines are notorious for lousy customer service, but this latest fiasco sets a new low. So much for the "friendly skies."

What happened this past weekend should never, ever happen again. It should have never happened at all.

The injustice of this ‎incident is that the gentleman pulled from the flight was forced to bear the cost of United's error in selecting passengers to give up their seats. He is a doctor who said he had appointments with patients to keep. United's actions in removing him were arbitrary and capricious.

What is‎ most infuriating is that there is no reason for anyone to be involuntarily bumped from an airline flight -- ever. A simple economic solution exists -- developed long ago by the late economist Julian Simon of the University of Maryland: holding an auction among the passengers to bid to give up their seats in exchange for monetary compensation.


On this Easter Sunday, I cannot help but wonder why there was not one good soul on the plane that would not offer to take the place of the Dr. or other randomly chosen ones. Shame on us in America. Of course, it was not handled right by the airlines or even the other somewhat selfish humans on the plane. What a great story then this could have become. Naturally, would not have been reported. However, what an example for all of those on the plane. $800 plus hotel would have been doable for someone on that plane. My guess is they were all hoping for a higher price. Just a thought about "loving our neighbor"!

mlh738's picture

I heard on Rush that there is more to the story. Although your point is still valid, let's hear all of the story.