United Airlines Had The Worst Year Ever, Here’s Why

It seems that one of the biggest stories have involved scandals with United Airlines. After the backlash to the April 2017 incident, the airline then killed a passenger's dog and send another dog to the wrong destination. Since then, customers have called for a boycott of the airline. It seems that whether the airline is hurting customers, threatening them, or mistreating their pets, the airline can't seem to avoid controversy. Hobica and Charles Leocha, president of the airline passenger advocacy group, Traveler's United have stated that "If they treat their airline employees well, then the airline employees will treat the customers better. And United, historically, has had a problem in terms of employee management issues. And I think it shows." Here are the worst scandals that the airline has been involved in over the past few years.

1. Wrong Flight Nightmare

One of your worst nightmares is probably getting on the wrong flight. This is exactly what happened to Lucie Bahetoukilae, when she boarded her flight from New York to San Fransisco, instead of Paris. She claimed that the airline had decided to switch her gates at the last minute. She also showed the employee her ticket and allowed her to board the plane. When she got to her seat, she realized that there was someone else sitting there, so she asked a flight attendant for assistance. All the flight attendant did was place her in another seat that was open. Bahetoukilae did eventually make it home to Paris, and the airline issued an apology and a full refund. Their response? "we're disappointed any time a customer has an experience that does not live up to his or her expectation."

2. This Will Probably Ruin Your Honeymoon


A couple that was on their way to Costa Rica had some issues after they boarded the plane and went to their seat. When they reached their row, they realize a man who had already boarded was sleeping and taking up all three seats. They decided to take other seats since it seemed the plane was nowhere close to being completely full. Although it was a basically empty plane, the flight attendants still went around to check if they were in the right seat. When they explained the problem to them, and asked if they could potentially upgrade, they were denied and began moving towards their assigned seat a few rows back. The air marshall then boarded the plane and asked them to leave. With United Airlines past of beating people who'd not comply, they immediately disembarked the flight. United Airlines claims that the couple had been uncooperative with the attendants and that they were unruly. They were booked on another flight a few days after the incident. They then released a statement saying, "We're disappointed any time a customer has an experience that does not live up to his or her expectation." Sounds like we've heard that before.

3. First Class Doesn't Always Mean First Class

Geoff Fearns was on a business trip to Los Angeles to Hawaii, and was supposed to ride there first class. He arrived, checked in, went through TSA, boarded the plane, and began to enjoy his complimentary drink. Soon after, a United Airlines employee came rushing over and asked that he immediately vacate the seat. When he asked why, they said it was overfull, but then truthfully stated that there was a more important person that needed the seat. Fearns claimed that they threatened to put him in handcuffs if he did not comply. It seemed like United had another flight where the plane had mechanical issues, and when they swapped the plane out, they replaced it with a smaller plane, leaving some passengers without a seat. Instead of booking them on a different flight, they began moving people around. They then downgraded Fearns to economy class in between a couple who refused to sit next to each other. It's said that they argued loudly the entire 6-hour flight home. When he got home he immediately contacted a lawyer and the lawyer asked the CEO of United Airlines for a full refund of the $1,000 ticket and to make a $25,000 donation to the charity of his choice. A customer specialist got back to him and said he won't be getting either. Eventually, they offered a refund of the difference between the ticket prices and a $500 credit on any future flight. What did they respond with? "We're disappointed any time customer has an experience that does not live up to his or her expectation."


4. Simon The Rabbit Died On Their Flight

Simon the rabbit was a fan favorite of Iowa and was purchased for the purpose of raising money for the Iowa state fair. He was purchased by a family in England and shipped to the Iowa Investment Groups chosen family. On route to the states, Simon was in Chicago airport where he was found dead, locked in a freezer for 16 hours, and then eventually cremated before the owners even knew what happened to him. Simon had only been 10 months old when he died. United Airlines denied that they had done anything wrong and so the Iowa Investment Group sued them for the coast of purchasing Simon, the cost of shipping, and any lost revenue the rabbit probably would have gained. It's been said that United Airlines has the record of most animal deaths out of any airline.

5. The 300-Year-Old Violin

Yennifer Correia was traveling to Chicago to play in an orchestra with her 300-year-old violin that costs tens of thousands of collars. She was stopped at the gate and told that she had to pay $50 dollars to check in her Violin. Of course, Correia did not want to risk her almost priceless instrument getting damaged, so she asked if there was another alternative. The supervisor then told her that she needed to calm down, and began raising her voice at her. The supervisor then lunged at her luggage to take the tag off of her bags once Correia demanded to get her name. The fight ended when Correia asked bystanders to film the incident. The federal law allows musicians to carry any small instruments aboard any plane, just like all carry on luggage. United Airlines once again issued an apology stating, "we're disappointed any time a customer has an experience that does not live up to his or her expectation.

6. David Doa Is Removed From The Plane Bloodied And Beaten

This was one of the biggest stories of 2017. For some reason, United Airlines overbooked a flight...again, and offered passengers that were already on board vouchers to vacate the plane to make room for other United employees who needed to get to work. When no one volunteered, they decided to pick a random person. This random person was Dr. David Doa, who was in route to practice medicine and help other people. It was obvious that he needed to be on that flight, and so he refused to give up his seat. Because of this, he was dragged and beaten by security so bad that he had some teeth knocked out, and is seen bleeding in multiple videos taken by passengers. He has since sued the airline and received untold compensation. The CEO, Oscar Munoz issued many statements about the situation, one which he commended his employees for "following procedure".

7. The CIA Hates Flying United

One of the documents released on Wikileaks from the Central Intelligence Agency's cyber intelligence unit stated that, "Flying United: My condolences, but at least you are earning a United leg towards a status increase. The airline tied for last place with Air Canada among large North American carriers in a JD Power survey on airline satisfaction last year. United has also created a new flying class that is even worse than economy called basic economy.


8. They Airline Killed a Dog and Sent Another One to Japan.

United admitted that a passenger's 10-month-old puppy suffocated and died in the overhead compartment during one of the flights. It was said that a flight attendant forced the owner to stow the dog in the overhead bin, despite that she was transporting it in a TSA-approved dog carrier. In response to the incident they said, "This was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin. We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them." Soon after, there was another dog related incident when they were investigating how a Kansas City-bound dog was accidentally flown to Japan. When the family arrived in Kansas City, it was given another passengers dog, which was the dog meant to go to Japan.

9. When It Sold a Toddlers Seat To a Passenger On Standby

A passenger was forced to hold her two-year-old son on her lap for a four hour plane ride after his seat was sold to a standby passenger. United said the incident was a result of the child's boarding pass being improperly scanned. The airline then refunded the passenger for both their tickets. It seemed that the airline also violated federal regulations that require children two years and older to have their own seat on airplanes.

10. When It Refused To Let Passengers Fly While Wearing Leggings

the airline refused to let three female passengers board a flight from Denver to Minneapolis because they were wearing leggings. After the youngest passenger changed into a dress, she was allowed to board the flight. The other two were not because they had all been using United employee's flight benefits, meaning they all had to adhere to the same dress code that employees when they fly.

11. When An Employee Tried To Cancel a Customer's Ticket For Recording a Dispute

There was a dispute with one of the airline's employees that appeared to involve an oversized bag the customer wanted to check, and so another customer began filming. The gate agent then pulled out HER phone and started filming the customer and threatened to cancel his ticket. A representative said, "The video does not reflect the positive customer experience we strive to offer, and for that, we apologize."


12. When An Employee Shoved an Elderly Passenger To The Ground

In 2015, there was a surveillance video that showed a United employee shoving a 71-year old man to the ground at an airport in Houston. The man claims that the employee began laughing at him after he asked for help getting a new boarding pass. After he asked the employee to stop smiling, the employee pushed him to the ground. He sued the airline and two of it's employees in response.

13. When An Infant Was Hospitalized After Waiting On a Delayed Flight

An infant on a United flight became overheated and was eventually hospitalized after waiting for over two hours on a delated flight. The child ended up being okay, but the mother responded, "I really thought my son was going to die in my arms." United OF COURSE released a statement saying, "We are profoundly sorry to our customer and her child for the experience they endured. We are actively looking into what happened to prevent this from occurring again."

14. When It Turned Employees' Bonus Systems Into A Lottery

United made it's employees furious when they announced that it would turn their quarterly, performance-based bonuses into a lottery that would only allow a small percentage of them to receive cash, a vacation package, or a Mercedes-Benz C-Class each quarter. After the backlash from employees, United announced it was going to put the policy on hold."Our intention was to introduce a better, more exciting program, but we misjudged how these changes would be received by many of you," company president Scott Kirby wrote in an email to employees. "So, we are pressing the pause button on these changes to review your feedback and consider the right way to move ahead."

15. Basic Economy Tickets

When United introduced basic economy tickets, they were faced with a lot of customer backlash. United had to deal with passengers who became frustrated with the new class of ticket, which is less expensive than the other options. However, there's also more restrictions on passengers such as, the inability to reserve a seat ahead of time, and the potential for additional baggage fees.Some customers then became upset after they bought them from travel booking sites like Expedia and Priceline without realizing the restrictions. In response, they pulled the tickets from third party sites until they were updated to make the restrictions clearer.