If you haven’t seen it by now, let me fill you in on what is likely to be of 2017’s biggest PR mess recently perpetrated by United Airlines. In a nutshell, United Airlines found themselves in a position to require four passengers to surrender their seats on a flight from Chicago to Louisville over the weekend. After offering vouchers for mileage credit and still having zero volunteers, the company claims that a randomized computer selection identified the passengers who would have their tickets canceled. What followed with one passenger who was unwilling to surrender his seat is pretty unfortunate and can be seen
in the video from the New York Times. The fact that United felt it was a good decision to literally drag a customer off the plane is bewildering. United Airline’s gaff has rightfully dominated the national conversation over the past couple of days, but I believe there’s an opportunity to learn from both the airline and the passenger in this situation. And frankly, why shouldn’t we? If there’s an opportunity to reduce my chances of getting dragged of a plane, then I, for one, believe that I owe it to myself to take it.
The Airline is Only Guilty of Being Uncreative
Okay, this is where we’ll likely get a bit divisive. I have no problem with passengers being forcibly removed from planes. Period. As a frequent air traveler myself, I understand the “laws of the land” so to speak, are not skewed in my favor. FAA regulations are immutably in favor of the absolute authority of the pilot, flight crew, and any other airline official. Sure, that’s a lot of power to put into the hands of people who, at least in this instance, have proven to have highly flawed decision-making skills, but that’s just how it is. Therefore, while I’d be quick to vilify the airline employees who failed to consider any other option involving finding an alternate passenger, increasing the incentive to volunteer, or anything short of a violent removal of this gentleman, once they said he needed to be removed, they were well within their rights to do so, forcibly if necessary. At the risk of sounding like an authoritarian apologist, I’d remind the world that this type of control on airplanes is literally designed for the safety of everyone involved- both in the planes and on the ground. Remember that the circumstances that created these draconian laws in the first place were the events on September 11, 2001. That said, the security officer likely violated his departments code of conduct on use of force, but the airline, from my completely inexpert position, is only guilty of being boneheads, and not of any actual rule infraction. Moving on, let’s take a look at how easily this can be avoided for anyone who doesn’t want to be dragged off a plane.
Never Let a Job Get You Dragged Off a Plane
The man in the video has been identified as Dr. David Dao of Elizabethtown, KY. He claimed that he couldn’t leave the flight because he needed to take a shift and care for patients the next day. The veracity of his claim hasn’t been confirmed yet, and he has actually been operating on a provisionally reinstated medical license since 2015 after having to surrender it in 2005 following a conviction for charges surrounding illegal distribution of Vicodin. The doctor’s history is not on trial here, but it’s important to note that a man chose to invoke the need to get to work so vehemently that the airline felt no other options existed short of dragging him off the plane. This is ridiculous. I don’t want him or anyone else to be dragged off a plane, or dragged anywhere, for that matter. I certainly don’t want someone in this day and age to assert such a need to be physically in an office that it prevents a 75 minute long flight an additional 3 hours. I mean, it’s 2017 for crying out loud. Plus, the drive time from Chicago to Louisville is only about 4 hours and 30 minutes so, realistically, there is no excuse to claim an inability to get to work in light of the incentives United was offering. But alas, that was not the case.
One Easy Step to Not Being Dragged off a Plane
Here it is, folks, the one step process to completely avoid this unfortunate event. Chances are good, you already have the ability to do this, too; Work remotely. I know, it’s not the sexiest answer in the world, but more often than not, the best solutions are also the simplest ones, too. In fact, it’s estimated that over half of all US workers have jobs that can be done remotely, and with the latest innovations for video visits, yes even doctors can work remotely, too! Plus, considering the simplicity of working remotely and the fact that the majority of distance working tools actually save companies upwards of 80% over traditional phone systems, there is never any good reason to get dragged off a plane for work.
It Really is That Simple
To prove just exactly how easy it is to start a remote working policy at work, I can even offer you a free seat at our upcoming Remote Working Webinar. We’ll go over all of the aspects of maintaining strong company culture, ensuring open communications, and every other detail that teams new to remote working should consider. While all of those details will be helpful, after you leave the webinar you’ll be just as bewildered as I am why anyone would let themselves be brutalized by airport security over a job. Or maybe you think the airline was way off base? Let us know about it by signing up for the webinar or by joining the conversation on Twitter or Facebook and we can discuss it more. Until then, however, please be safe and courteous both on the ground and in the air, and do everything in your power to avoid getting dragged off a plane.