Thursday, April 13, 2017
United Beats Passenger, Traumatizes Louisville Flight
The world witnessed United Airlines prioritize its operating needs over the customers it supposedly serves. It went so far as to beat and bloody a physician trying to get home to see patients to accommodate a United flight crew. In the process passengers objected to this man's horrific treatment. One suggested the flight crew rent a car to get to their work destination.
David Dao will have his day in court. The irony is United could have offered the four passengers $1 million each and come out better. Instead it used a computer to randomly select seated passengers for ejection. That impersonal procedure became very personal for Dr. Dao. It also incited the wrath of nearly anyone viewing the video online.
Corporate power, hubris and greed contribute to the dehumanization of anyone who doesn't willingly follow company edicts, no matter how nonsensical. A sixty nine year old physician got the tar beat out him for asking United to honor the seat the company gave him. It took United's CEO three tries to get close to what happened, a horrific crime his company perpetrated against a passenger and a psychologically traumatic event for anyone on that plane.
Power, hubris and greed are alive and well in America's corporate enforcement state. United's dehumanization is one window into this abusive malformation. Lesser abuses happen to customers and employees inside companies every day. They have the same root.
Dr. Dao wants to ensure something like this happens to no one else. I trust him to have more impact than any CEO looking to optimize their executive incentive compensation. United hired CEO Oscar Munoz in September 2015. He took a medical leave of absence from October 19, 2015 until March 14, 2016. For his six weeks of work in 2015 Munoz earned $5.8 million. The United CEO's 2016 pay should be made public the end of April in a SEC filing.
Change is in the air for United. Dr. Dao won't fly anytime soon. Injustice lasts until justice is served. It can come from the top but that requires reflection, insight and balance, rare characteristics in our hallowed halls of power.