I'm sure most travelers have encountered over booked flights and the offers from the airline to take a later flight; that is to say, voluntarily surrendering your ticket in exchange for something that is appealing: vouchers, cash, etc.... In this instance of United's overbooking, Sunday, April 9th, 2017, we have the widely disseminated and shocking video of an older Asian male, 69, being forcibly removed from his seat by members of the Chicago Aviation Authority. The ticket holding passenger can be seen and heard screaming in a video posted by a fellow passenger, identified as Tyler Bridges, who, in an interview with the New York Times said, "It felt like something the world needed to see."
The man being removed was pulled so forcefully by the officers, that his head hit the armrest of a chair on the opposite side of the aisle and blood began to cover his face. He was then dragged by the arms the length of the aisle to the door and removed from the aircraft. All of this is clearly seen in the video.
In the aftermath of this, the CEO of United, Oscar Munoz, actually praised his staff for, "Going above and beyond..", as reported by Anthony Pearce of Yahoo News. Perhaps a fitting and ugly irony is that Mr. Munoz was awarded Communicator of the Year, 2017, by PR Week.
The point of this story is not weather or not United, or any other airline, has the right to request that a ticket holding passenger give up his or her seat due to overbooking, or the need to accommodate off duty flight crew. The point is, that this level of escalation was allowed to unfold before dozens of innocent eyes as something that was an acceptable corporate resolution to a conflict of desires and needs.
And instead of offering some measure of contrition in light of such a graphic video of the forced removal, the CEO of the airline instead chose to praise his crew and disparage the passenger as being, "Belligerent", according to CNN.
We must find a way moving forward in all of our civil discourse and conflicts, politically and socially, to act with more tolerance, with more empathy and with less violence. And this is the purpose, the mission statement and the very core of the Curbside Congress Movement: to reconcile differences in all forums, formal as in a government setting of legislature, or on the curbside and neighborhoods across the USA.
United, indeed, is the only future before us as a civilized nation.