Air travel is one of those industries in which its sheer size and scope should guarantee that the systems working behind the scenes are capable of simple mathematics.
The entire miracle of flights, from Kitty Hawk to Space X, is built on a robust understanding of math, which, by all accounts, an exact science. Lift, drag, coefficients of friction, weight, displaced volume, and an innate knowledge of their intricacies are absolutely imperative not only to getting these mammoth machines off of the ground, but to the safety of the passengers onboard and the civilians living their lives underneath.
So how is it that United Airlines can’t even correlate the number of tickets to the number of seats on a routine flight?
Somehow, that was exactly the problem in Chicago over the weekend, as the beleaguered airline overbooked one of their simple, domestic flights to Louisville by 4 entire passengers. When bribery didn’t work in removing the “extra” passengers, ($800 and a hotel room to rebook your flight for the next day), the airline was forced to use a computer program to randomly select which passengers were to be removed.
One of those passengers just happened to be a doctor with appointments that the rescheduling wouldn’t allow for him to visit. That’s when things got ugly.
The scene is disturbing. This man, a doctor on a flight in the United States, is forcibly removed from his seat due to the airline’s simple, simple mathematical error. Distraught passengers are heard gasping and screaming as these airport security thugs bloody the man’s face while dragging him from the window seat to the aisle, before inhumanely carrying him off of the airplane as if he were a slaughtered pig.
The yet to be identified man attempted to rebound the airplane, dazed from when security officers had smashed him into one of the sturdy metal armrests, and with blood streaming from his face. He was again removed from the aircraft.
United Airlines of course released a statement regarding the event, but said statement was cold, unacceptable, and did nothing but make the predictable points that their lawyers would have wanted.
There has been no word yet on the effect of the incident on United’s stock, but you can rest assured that it won’t take an aerospace engineer to do the math on what’s next for the airline.
Here are a few more videos of the event:
— Jayse D. Anspach (@JayseDavid) April 10, 2017
— Tyler Bridges (@Tyler_Bridges) April 9, 2017
Somehow the man made it back on to the flight later – bloodied and bruised and seemingly out of sorts.
— Tyler Bridges (@Tyler_Bridges) April 10, 2017
United has apologized. Sort of.
Statement from @United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz: “I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers.”
That's one way of putting it. pic.twitter.com/Jq7VGoYv8Q
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) April 10, 2017