United Passenger Beating Followup

After shooting himself in the foot twice with asinine statements about “re-accommodating” and “involuntarily deboarding” (I remember when Hans Gruber was involuntarily deboarded from Nakatomi Plaza) the doctor police beat the snot out of on United Airlines’ orders so a United employee could take his seat, United CEO Oscar Munoz finally offers a real apology for the “truly horrific event.”

Of course the doctor is still suing. As well he should. Especially since it turns out that United probably broke the law in the incident:

In my belief, United Airlines is citing the wrong federal rule to justify its illegal request to force a passenger already boarded and seated to disembark so they could make room for crew members being flown to a new assignment.

Under a federal rule [14 CFR 253], commercial airlines are governed by a document known as a “Contract of Carriage” [COC], a legally binding contract which, among other things, protects the legal rights of passengers, and imposes legal duties upon carriers. United’s COC contains two distinct sections: Rule 21 entitled “Refusal of Transport,” and Rule 25 entitled “Denied Boarding Compensation.”

United is incorrectly citing the denied boarding compensation rule in its COC, and the federal rule upon which it is based [14 CFR 250.5], to justify requiring a passenger who has already been permitted to board and taken a seat to involuntarily disembark.

But that rule, as its title and history clearly establish, applies only if an airline wishes to deny boarding to a passenger, not to remove a passenger who has already boarded an airplane.

There are also reports of Twitter Twitter deleting negative comments about United. For what it’s worth, I tweeted a ton of jokes, slams, hashtag jumps, etc., and I don’t think any of my posts have been deleted.

Biggest winner in all this? Southwest Airlines:

Finally, this one falls into the “fake but still funny” category:

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