United's actions in this instance are unforgivable.
From a PR standpoint, this was a complete and utter disaster for the airline.
Let's face it: Airline travel today is nothing less than dehumanizing. It's a national disgrace. Stepping onto a commercial airline has become fraught with stress and anxiety. It's a veritable cattle car -- a place where anything can happen and often does.
Calamity appears to be more and more the norm in this setting. Why? Because by the time they get on the plane passengers are totally stressed out. They've stood in numerous lines; they've been glared at, questions and searched; their belongings have been rifled though; they've been shoved and jostled and they've waded through crowds and waited through unending announcements before being herded into groups (such as they are) and finally led onto an overcrowded plane with very limited space to call their on. And, once there, they're given more warnings, more instructions and are subjected to more institutional nonsense.
In short, today's passengers are treated like prisoners. And that's pretty much what they are.
Which is to say, it's no picnic, folks.
And the coarsening of the culture and general absence of common courtesies hasn't helped. The situation is a mess.
Amidst this tense environment we have far too many airline attendants who don't really seem to enjoy or even care about their jobs or the people they're expected to serve. Often abrupt and surly, it's all they can do grunt orders in your direction and then shoot a menacing gaze your way if you dare to defy them or seem to even so much as question them.
So, no -- we don't feel sorry for United Airlines. Not one bit.
We hope they get sued up their wazoo.
Throw the book at 'em!
They're behavior is reprehensible. They brought it all on themselves!