An insane amount of news we see on our Facebook newsfeed nowadays revolve around viral sensations and crazy instances that are not normally covered by the media.
One of the more recent news, that almost every news outlet online has covered in quite a large depth, is the news about United Airlines and their debacle of dragging a passenger (more than one I believe?) off their airplane.
Given this piece of news is nothing new- and is most definitely very fresh in our minds as a horrific act of injustice, there is a need to step back and see what this act actually represents in the values of not only the company at present, but the large majority of industries that customers have become enslaved to.
Rather than discuss what actually happened which in simple terms is a man being chosen to be forcefully dragged off an overbooked flight by security officers when refusing to comply with the demand to leave the plane- let’s take a look at the inherent fallacies and values that contribute to such actions.
Admittedly, such deeds seem horrendous to our sensible morality of the world, and what is right and wrong. But with such actions becoming more and more common in what I like to call The Trump Era where unfair treatment and profiling have practically become authorized, such things have become almost normal to our ears.
Videos were posted on Twitter by surrounding passengers of the man being dragged off by security officers by force, and the outcry and protest of the man being dragged being completely ignored. Sounds inhumane, doesn’t it?
Naturally, no matter how horrendous an act, there comes a time when things occur so often that almost no one takes a second glance.
Taking a step back, here are a few things we can say about the root of such viral news, and possibly a reflection on the values that United Airlines might be trying to run with:
The Customer is ALWAYS right? Not anymore
In our free-market economy, to keep businesses booming, it is the standard to consider the customer as always being right.
In an essence, the company will retain its business if the customer is happy. The company needs the customer to survive, and must convince the customer why they need their services.
This sounds largely economical, but hear me out. It is definitely a two-way street, and the customer to some degree or extent has to be interested in the product or service to pursue it.
But in the large majority of cases where there is competition- or other airlines to be exact- the company needs to convince the customer as to why they should continue supporting them, and using their services.
The entitlement displayed by such an action; dragging a person off a flight, shows that yes, in that moment that person needed to be on that flight. But in the future, he (and several thousand others!) can easily turn to someone else in the market.
Companies are now valuing their own selves more than their customers. With this type of mentality, there can be fraudulent practices, mistreatment of customers, and a lack of honesty in the good or service provided.
If a company believes their customer needs them, and not the other way around, it is a one way ticket to entitlement, and in the end, possible bankruptcy and loss of value for their good or service.
Power at play
Similar to the reversal of who needs who, this also puts in the hands of the company and industry in general, a sense that they are in power, and they can do whatever they want.
This can have dangerous impacts on not only the customers- who have the option to opt out of the service- but employees of various ranks.
When a company believes that they are in firm power, they will do anything to keep that power. (Hint: even apologize when their stocks are dropping).
It may sound like I am turning the screw a little too hard to drive the point home, but this point is crucial. Devaluing the service being provided to a customer population almost directly means a complete drop in the quality- and in this case, the humanity- of a company’s practice.
On another scale, it can be said that the silent, unspeaking audience who went through the effort to videotape the escapade but not put an end to it, reverberates a sense of solidarity in the immorality of these values- a lack of honesty or value of others.
They will stick to their rules blindly, the system is in power- human lives not as important in this power play.
It easy to say that the process of literally and quite inhumanely dragging a person off of an airplane is inhumane. It is another to take another step back and think about what kind of mentality brought about such a situation in the first place.
How did the United Airlines flight become overbooked in the first place, that they had to resort to dragging a random person off a plane?
We have all heard the saying that money talks- and in multi-billion dollar industries, every penny counts. Or every ticket brought by every passenger.
It is easy said and done that they did not value the customer enough to try and appease him- to the extent of causing injury and putting him in harms way.
It is another thing to look at the more recently surfacing news about multiple people being ejected from overbooked flights from United Airlines in the recent past- stories that never reached sensationalism because the customers were compliant.
All of these instances, this pattern of ejections come from overbooking. I am confident that it is not their lack of managerial skills or ability to know when a flight is overbooked- but a lust for every passenger and ticket to make it on the plane.
They might not have purposely overbooked the flight-it would be interesting to examine that if they in fact did- but they may have been reckless and careless.
In essence, they were trying to make more money from more customers than they had room for- speaking far more deeply to the devaluation of customer’s happiness in the providing of services.
Who is at fault? Is there a solution to this inhumanity?
After really examining such situations in a reflective, philosophical, and even economical root, it is really interesting to wonder who can be blamed in the end, or whether there are preventative strategies, or a cure and solution.
Sure, a prevention taken by the customer will be to never fly United again. A preventative strategy by the airline and industry will be to never do such a thing again- or at least never to this extent and more likely with compliant passengers.
But then, this mindset will manifest in more than one place, one way or another, in one other place or another.
In the end, it is something that every person has to play their part to eradicate. There is a loss of value for all things good, a loss of value for not only the customer ot the power play of industry, but a (very broadly understood) lack of humanity in the treatment of fellow human beings.
It takes one glance at news headlines to know that this is true all across the board.
Rather than attempting prevention, the one step each and every person can try their best to make, is to stand against such actions, and never be complicit to inhumanity in whatever way possible in their daily lives.
Whether it is United Airlines or some other company basking in its own glory, there will be plenty of opportunities for the common man to do a common act of good, and speak to whatever ounce of humanity is left in the world.
True, this is a small incidence in a world of countless horrors and devastating events.
But it is the responsibility of every human being to speak to the humane side of existence, no matter the situation at hand that they have the ability to impact.
Be it large scale or small scale, every heart matters. Every action counts.