United Airlines Saga is a Lesson for Corporates and Politicians–No Bull, Please


April 16, 2017

United Airlines Saga is a Lesson for Corporates and Politicians–No Bull, Please

by Azly Rahman@www.malaysiakini.com

You can’t take your customers and voters for granted

Karma for United Airlines – share prices down and down and down, from US$700 million loss in a day to US$1.4 billion the next. This will continue. But there is a lesson here. Capitalism and its arrogance. Corporate capitalism and its treatment towards customers, in a cut-throat airline competition.

And the good Vietnamese-born doctor dragged away bloodied will sue big-time. Bravo. The world is cheering. The Internet has won again. A General Lafayette aiding George Washington in that Revolutionary War.

Lesson for Najib and UMNO in Malaysia

In the United Airlines Corporate Bulls**t and Karma story, there is a lesson for Malaysia as well. This country is known for its politeness but of late corporate and political culture is evolving towards bulls**t.

Malaysian customers too can do it, too. Whether you’re an airline or a cable TV company or a cellular communications company, you do the dance of your corporate bulls**t, public anger, with the help of social media can bring you down.

Whether you are giants like Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, or any new airlines with strange and humiliating interview techniques(Malindo), or whether you’re Astro or Celcom or Maxis or any company that takes people’s money and do not deliver quality, public anger can imitate the global reaction we are seeing with United Airlines. I hope these Malaysian companies are doing the right thing in keeping their customers happy.

So, companies must behave and refrain from exercising policies amounting to corporate bulls**t. I hope Malaysian companies such as those continue to behave well while laughing their way daily to the bank.

Even companies allying themselves with allegedly lousy and money-laundering politicians ought to be shamed and exposed of their unholy alliances, so that it is easy for the public, local and global, to also punish them for their corporate bulls**it. Let the public decide the nature of karma. Corporate karma.

Lessons for politicians as well

Though BS is your ammo, the public must be appeased, especially in the age of trolls and anyone with a cellphone is a citizen journalist. It’s the age of boycotts going viral and corporations that BS should be careful with their ethics of enterprise-sustainability.

Politicians are always a target of citizen anger, because they had promised to deliver when they were begging for votes. Yet when they have won and have held power for endless number of years, they become arrogant and thieves, suing race and religion to rationalise their moves and motives.

Image result for Najib stop the Bullshit

And herein lie the power of the Internet trollers. The storm-bringers of the political world. The case of the leader of a major Islamic party getting trolled, and cartoonised, and humiliated in cyberspace is an example of public anger over a religious issue that is plagued with arrogance. The case of the tabling of the amendments to Act 355.

The case of unholy alliances that is framed in the language of religion and the need to have an Islamic state even though Islam does not require nations to have such a state. Islam is a personal religion that help develop the self into a kingdom of peace – not a cultural-religious ideology used by a party to insist on a system of demagoguery that belittles other religious beliefs. That is not Islam. That is a grand slam of a medieval ideology.

Image result for Najib stop the Bullshit

Seeking solace

In the end, what Malaysia is seeing is a state of chaos and of double-dealings and triple lyings of Malay-Muslim political parties playing up each other. In the end the game is all the same – political bulls**t to the max.

The Internet as monster

The cybernetic world is precarious and brutal when it comes to addressing public anger. And no one controls the Internet. Technology will always be the winner. We have been seeing numerous cases in Malaysia wherein companies are brought down, politicians shredded to pieces, and issues of human right violations exposed for the world to see – all these by the power of the Internet and the ease of employment and deployment of social media.

Karl Marx, the social historian, said whoever owns the means of production, owns the means of changing social relations of production and consciousness as well. Today we are all owners of the means of production called free speech enabled by our personalising and ‘personacratic technology’ called the cellphone.

We are all part of the whole. In the case of fighting against corporate bulls**t and politicians with BS attitude, we are all members of the new resistance movement – the army of that is also raging. Rage against the machine, A new Luddite. A new force. To bring down capitalism’s glorified bullsh**ters.

And the biggest winner, still is the Internet. That Frankenstein of a monster roaming in cyberspace.

I hope the good doctor David Dao is feeling better. I hope it is not a case of racial profiling at the height of Trumpism. But fly not United Airlines until its corporate bullshit is grounded and buried.

15 thoughts on “United Airlines Saga is a Lesson for Corporates and Politicians–No Bull, Please

  1. Every airline practice some sort of overselling of seats to ensure high occupancy. There’s the element of no show versus go show. No show of passengers that have confirmed reservations versus go show of passengers that show up at the last minute.
    For United Airlines the flight from Chicago to Louisville is the perfect storm of snafu. First the ground crew boarded the passengers and then realized that they had “oversold” and need to bump passengers that are already seated. Standard practice is to ask for volunteers at the gate and not when boarded.
    Secondly the gate agent didn’t make an offer lucrative enough to entice passengers to accept the offer.
    Then it was later revealed that the 4 seats that UA needed were for crew members instead of passengers.
    Next the gate agents decided to call in the Chicago Aviation Police who treated the case as a violent and undesirable passenger who needs to be removed including the use of force.
    Missing is the role of the Captain of the plane who has full authority to decide.
    Adding salt to the wound is the statement by the CEO of United who instead of pacifying passengers instead offered a lukewarm apology and the next day applauded the action of the staff in handling the case. This is the same CEO who was recognized as the top Communicator for 2017- sheesh. Clearly damage control was not applied correctly and United Airlines acted arrogantly. When details of the snafu begin to appear it is too late to salvage the situation.
    United Airlines is greedy. The aircraft can still take off with empty seat because no show passengers have already paid for that seat and if they need to rebook they will have to pay a heavy penalty. So it clearly indicate that United Airlines is trying to double dip.
    Crew positioning are known ahead of time and should have been factored in and not be made into an oversell position. Again UA is at fault for not taking into consideration crew positioning. If the crew failed to get to Louisville it will cause a domino effect delaying or cancelling the flight the crew was supposed to man.
    United Airlines have grown so big that it no longer respect passengers rights and loyalty. Just because these passengers fly “cattle car” they shouldn’t be treated like cattle with prodding irons and all.
    Bottom line United Airlines deserve to be punished. Apart from the drop in asset value UA tend to lose many United Airlines or Star Alliance loyalty members who may decide to not use United or in worst cases give up their loyalty program.

    • Semper Fi,

      You know the airline business very well. When we were at LA Airport you used your network to get Kamsiah and I checked in quickly and safely. BTW, do you know what happened to our Waldoff Astoria bellboy, Mr. Bean. I didn’t handle him well and so I lost this Wat Siam (Alor Setar) friend with deep regret.–Din Merican

    • Last I heard from Bean was when he wanted to sit for the Bar Exam again. Bean was also trying to get the owners of Adabi, his classmate interested in entering the US market. Then he went silent but I believe he was still in contact with Tean Rean.

  2. As usual semper, you’ve given us a deeper insight into the meanderings of these enfant terribles’ who masquerade as ‘corporate geniuses’. The aviation industry is growing at unprecedented rate and UA is in many ways the leader in all things negative about it.

    With good ole Drumpfski as a flopping POTUS and red neck turgid pimples rearing their ugly Pustular ‘American First’ (in what.., i could never figure), Mongoloid looking folk like me shudder to board any flight to the US. Racial profiling and all that.

    Oh well, the Grand Canyon, Great Lakes, Yellowstone, Rockies-Tetons and other major natural wonders will have to wait. Too cowardly to get my incisors knocked off and suffer concussion ‘cuz me reserves of functioning teeth and neurons are already running on low. Might as well enjoy the musang king and udang merah, before they git me..

    Sometime ago, while i was in Jogjakarta, Air Asia decided to take off an hour early and i nearly didn’t make it on board. Fortunately my better half pulled rank and would have made these blokes suffer irreparably if we had to spend another night quaffing tempeh stained nasi. Usually they just cancel or delay flights. But Early?

    Have you tasted the satay on any MAS flights recently? Ribbed rubber sheets taste better. Dr Dao wasn’t the only one with dental damage, i assure you.

    • Ha ha CLF, I can write a book on how MAS mismanage and mishandle an Enrich member with almost a million miles. For about 10 years I carry 2 tickets with me, 1 MAS and 1 SIA since I travel KUL/LAX every 3 weeks in Business Class. I usually make calls to reserve my seats to both Airlines and the first to confirm will get my business. As usual MH will,say “sorry flight full” and won’t even waitlist me. SQ on the other hand when it was not ale to confirm my seat will always say “can I waitlist you and confirm you on the next flight” , then within an hour they will call back to confirm the seat and even have my favorite seat on the plane blocked. So you know who gets my business.
      Yeah with the new President the DHS are embolden and have even given returning US citizens a hard time. Many horror stories abound.

      Air Asia is another story. Passengers are made to jump through the hoops just to travel at a slightly lower fare but with lots and lots of restrictions, penalties and additional fees. They made money when passengers cancel and no refund even on the airport tax. Their cheap fares are often sold out within the hour when announced, sort of a teaser. Tempeh is good for complexion, look at Khir Toyo.

      No haven’t has MAS satay lately. Last was in 2015 from TYO/KUL. Not impressed. Maybe Brahim Sky Chef have changed the recipe or used lower grade beef.

  3. United Airlines= United MNO , worthiness heading down and down

    No escape !
    The Truth we are living in the
    Instant Information Communication and Technology Moment.

  4. Bona fide overselling is not an excuse to hurt, insult or disparage legitimate passengers, let alone faking consequences of poor management as overselling.

  5. Thanks DD for such a parallel I love this “… The case of unholy alliances that is framed in the language of religion and the need to have an Islamic state even though Islam does not require nations to have such a state. Islam is a personal religion that help develop the self into a kingdom of peace – not a cultural-religious ideology used by a party to insist on a system of demagoguery that belittles other religious beliefs. That is not Islam. That is a grand slam of a medieval ideology… “.. P/s we have had a Speaker of the House dragged off before. ~ dixi ~

  6. Our Committee of 100 (C100) is in contact with Dr. David Thanh Duc Dao. Sorry, I’m not at liberty so say anything else, as per his lawyer.

    In 2008, Dave Carroll, a musician, and his group began their week-long-tour of Nebraska by flying United Airlines from Halifax to Omaha, by way of Chicago. Upon landing and waiting to deplane in order to make his connection, he looked out the window in time to see his $3,500 710 Taylor guitar being heaved without regard by the United baggage handlers. He filed his claim for his broken guitar and United was giving him a run-around for something like 9-10 months. He got so frustrated and gave up on the claim. He told United that he was going to write 3 songs about them to put on You Tube, and he did. The songs won him many awards. Due to the Dr. Dao incidence, the songs go viral again. Enjoy.

  7. Well, if the Doc who are supposed to be well educated just compromise, like many others had. This incident would not had happen. But he made his stands with the devil on his RIGHT.
    There is always two side of a coin. If we human able to show a little kindness, patient and understanding. This world would be a peaceful place to live in.
    I fault the Doc actions who equally contributed to this freak event.

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