Monday, April 17, 2017

Fear of Flying: Air India and United Airlines Are Two Sides of the Same Coin

It could be a match made in heaven. Literally. Indian social media is salivating at the prospect of watching Shiv Sena's 25-chappal-MP Ravindra Gaikwad flying the friendly skies with United Airlines.

That could be an encounter that would be worth watching putting WWE wrestling to shame for sheer drama. Dragging a passenger off by force from an overbooked flight has left both the passenger and United with a bloody nose. United Airlines, whose CEO Oscar Munoz had a tone deaf response apologizing for "having to re-accommodate these customers," has watched his company lose $800 million in value in what quickly ballooned into a PR disaster.

United Express, which was operating the flight, said it chose the passengers at random but it has acquired a racial overtone as well since the passenger was Asian and the video has gone viral in China, becoming the number 1 trending topic on Weibo, China's version of Twitter.

In a weird way it's the mirror image of the story that had India agog for a few weeks – the showdown between Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad and Air India. In this case the shoe is on the other foot, but both are stories of thuggery in the skies, a bit of powerplay running amuck.
17/04/17 SAndip Roy/India West