Anyone who is American by birth (if not by choice) and who does not bow down in obseissance to the ultimate rightness and correctness of American 'values', will read the news of a recent debacle involving United Airlines without the bat of an eye. I mean, they will understand totally.
In synopsis: United Airlines -- one of Americas biggest and best -- had scheduled what turned out to be a full flight. That's the idea, right? Fill the plane and fly 'em to the destination. Sometimes these airlines overbook certain flights and therefore problems can arise. They do this on purpose usually, the same as hotels because the percentages tell them that there will always be a certain number of no-shows. For example, if you are running a resort hotel and you have 100 rooms -- and if you cease booking after you have rented out all 100 rooms, you are likely to lose money in the end because of cancellations. So, factoring this percentage in, you overbook and hope you have guessed right, providing you with a packed hotel and no rooms standing empty. Problems arise only if all parties turn up. Then people are left milling about in the lobby, suitcases in hand, and no free rooms. Hotels compensate for this by having relationships with other hotels nearby where they can send these extra people. In the end, something almost always works out.
I used to fly "stand-by" on many of my journeys. It sounds risky, but I would simply come to the airport and wait around to see if the planes still had available seats. If so -- and often they did -- I could fly for a very cheap rate simply because the airline wanted to sell its remaining tickets and were willing to do so for a discount. I guess they still do that, I don't know.
Anyway, this plane was full and about to leave from Chicago's O'Hare Airport, and they were going somewhere.. Well, if you have ever traveled in the USA, you will know what they say about O'Hare' -- it is a terrible airport -- but let's pass on it for now. All seats had been sold. Happiness. . So, there they were, the paying customers fastening their seatbelts and preparing for the flight. Everything was normal...no obvious terrorists on the plane. Until.....
Until a quartet of United officials decided that THEY needed the flight more than the paying customers. Why?
Apparently, they had to reach their next airport of assignment by the early hours of the following morning. And since there were four of them -- and since the plane was full -- they needed for four people who had already paid for their seats to decline to fly, to make way for the airline personnel who presumably needed to reach their destinations more pressingly than the regular customers needed to reach theirs. Which four didn't matter.
So what happened? The airline put out the Red Alert, offering up to $400 plus a room for the night for anyone willing to change their plans and fly on the next day. Not surprisingly, no one did. Finally...$800 and a free room" -- the cry went up. Three of the passengers bit one that one. Too good a deal to resist, they must have thought. (Good ole American business tactic: Make 'em a deal they can't refuse. But, let me see, where did that come from...? Oh, The Godfather" The romance about the Mafia -- now I remember.).
But, alas, there was one hold-out. Well, actually, he didn't think he was behaving in an unseemly manner or indeed doing anything wrong at all. What he didn't realize was that he had been the unwitting victim of a kind of lottery. Needing four seats to spread out under the sprawling asses of their own personnel, United Airlines decided that a lottery was the best way to go. Random selection. In other words, they simply computer-picked the four passengers who would have to leave the plane to make room for their own (United's) employees.
Three of them, thusly informed and under the coercive promise of a reward (financial compensation dictated in exchange for the sacrifice of their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of choice) decided to cooperate. The last one was a doctor who needed to be at an important conference the next morning. He refused to yield his seat.
The rest, of the story which I invite you to watch on YouTube, is emblematic of American history, justice, mentality, and VALUES. What you see are the official "Goons" stepping onboard and dragging the legitimate paying customer from his seat then hauling him up the aisle, oblivious of the screams of protest from the other passengers. He is forcibly yanked out of the plane.
It is America through and through.
What do I mean? I mean, "Hey, we will pay you, we will give you a bonus which you would be a fool not to accept, just do as we say, just do as we do!" And if you cooperate, welcome to the USA. And if you do not, well a big stick and an ass-whippin' could await you.
Coz if you don't cooperate, the big boys will teach you a lesson. Did you -- if you saw the video -- happen to notice the size of the Goon Boyz.? Massive motherfuckers, aren't they? All American police are built like that. Buzzcuts and steroid physiques. Designed specifically to intimidate and inspire fear. And they are armed and licensed to kill. And kill you they will -- no problem with that, if you happen to put your hands near your pockets and give them an excuse to say you were reaching for a gun.
But if the doctor had just cooperated, it wouldn't have been necessary to pounce on him and drag him out of that plane, would it? Why didn't the stupid fool just do as he was told, the goons asked? Why did they have to bloody him and humiliate him?
Because he wanted to fly to his important conference with the ticket he has purchased.
And that is how American authorities think, and this is a perfect reflection of the mentality of American government. If the rest of the world would just cooperate, and do what the US government tells them to do, then everything would be fine and dandy !! And you could eat all the hotdogs and snickers bars you wanted -- the Americans would even foot the bill !.
America does not want to CONQUER the world -- not in the way that Napoleon and Hitler wanted to. You won't likely see American tanks rolling through Poland on their way to Russia. No, it is not about Conquest in the most naked terms -- it is about CONTROL. America wants to control the world by establishing a kind of quasi-empire which consists of implementing American values in all directions, and from a military standpoint, this means appointing itself to be the world's watchdog. What America cannot blatantly do by itself in this regard, it tries to do through NATO. The lookout towers are posted everywhere, and fixed eyes are watching 24/7 in order to ensure the advancement and security of American ideology.
If you -- everybody else -- will just allow yourselves to be convinced of the legitimacy of all this, then here -- take your candy. But if not, then that friendly American smile will disappear and the goon squad will enter.
So how do I tie all this together -- a single incident on an American airline with a rant about American imperialism?.
The connection I see is very clear: in the end, after all the wheedling, cajoling, and offers of candy and financial remuneration, the fact is -- for America as well as for everyone else who has enough power -- Might makes Right.
The brutal travesty of physically dragging a paying customer from a commercial aircraft just so that airline flunkies could steal his seat is not only a disgrace but it also reveals an aspect of American mentality that they don't want you to see. It says you can behave of your own 'free will' or WE will force you to behave according to OUR free will.
My colleague Artem informs me that in fact there was a similar incident on a Russian airline not long ago. Well, I do not advocate that either. Right is right and wrong is wrong. The point is simply that the Americans are always up on their soapboxes preaching of their moral rectitude to the rest of the world, and then demonstrating that at the core they are no better than anyone else.
Probably the harassed and battered customer will be compensated and a smiley face plastered over it all. United Airlines will offer him a free flight to any destination he wants or pledges money to any charity organization of his choice. Americans like to do that stuff too -- it helps camouflage the malevolence of the underlying dirty tricks.
Maybe the best thing to say about America is that at least over there these things come to light. In some places, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, we might never have even heard the news. I will give the Americans credit for that much anyway. Thank God for small mercies.
===Eric Richard Le Roy===
Word from the editor (Artem): from my point of view, it is just the same shit all around the world, maybe the US part is closer to Eric, because he is American by birth, but, honestly, accident on Pobeda airlines touches me more, and here is why: the man was not offered any compensation, and he was even sued by the company, which is really - unbelievable.
I think it is not about nation, it is about common feelings of modern society all over the world. We just do not care, and put money in front of everything.
Yet I will let the readers judge)