Take a Road Trip and Never Get Overbooked
Since the end of December, I have been posting stories to try and encourage people to consider taking road trips instead of flying. At first I said that taking a road trip would help and smell the roses. Last month I suggested driving to a destination if the idea of TSA’s more invasive hand check procedures made you uncomfortable. After the fiasco with United Airlines broke this month, it seems as if road trips are almost a necessity to make sure that you actually make it to your destination on time and in one piece.
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This month, a United flight was getting ready to leave Chicago, bound for Louisville. The airline overbooked the cabin and the crew was asking for passengers to give up their seats for four company employees that needed to be on the flight and had been waiting in stand-by. After financial incentives failed, United representatives decided to pick passengers to force off of the plane. One passenger, Dr. David Dao, was selected, and he declined to deplane because he is a doctor and needed to get home to see his patients the following day. The United crew responded by having police forcibly pull the passenger from his seat, banging his face on an armrest and dragging him down the aisle. The angry yells of fellow passengers shaming the flight crew and the police can be heard on several recordings of the incident. The man re-appeared on video later, but the blood streaming from his face and dripping on surfaces required the plane to return to the gate for cleaning. After weeks of blundering about, including attempts to blame the passenger, United finally reached a settlement in the passenger’s favor this week.
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While this incident is sad and unique, unfortunately an airline selling more tickets than there are seats on an airplane is common, if not regular, practice. Passengers who checked in to their flight last or are of lowest status on the plane (not a frequent flier and sitting in coach) are most likely to get tossed and told to wait for the next flight, which could also be overbooked. If you choose to travel and have the luxury of a few extra hours of time, consider a drive instead. Your car will never be overbooked (unless you are the jerk that tries to fit more people in the car than there are seatbelts available) and you won’t have to deal with TSA. That sounds like a win-win situation to me.
News Source: The New York Times
A Dayton native, Rebecca got her start blogging at the curiously named Harlac’s Tongue while studying abroad in the UK. She loves tooling around town with her Ford Focus named Jerome to the song they’re playing on the radio. On any given weekend, you can find her with her camera at area festivals, concerts, and car shows, shopping at flea markets, or taking an adventure on the open road. See more articles by Rebecca.