Overbooking flights is a common practise for airlines. United Airlines recently overbooked a flight and a passenger was unwillingly dragged off a plane. But it seemed that we were all more fixated on the fact that the flight had been overbooked rather than on the uncivil treatment of the passenger.
The reality is that money will always take precedence over the customer. This is manifested in many industries. It can be seen in the monopolizing big-pharma companies ignoring the plight of diseases like HIV, which primarily affect poorer African nations. It can be seen in your local big box superstore trying to ferociously beat its competition by offering products with limited lifecycles.
It can be seen in governments that accept generous bribes to stay in power. It can even be seen in NGOs, that, instead of working with the values of impoverished communities to improve the local environments, tend to fund a Western version of the dreams of the community. These dreams and their work are often not sustainable.
This is not to decimate all the products and services that pharmaceutical companies, big box stores, governments, and NGOs provide. Rather, it is to emphasize that there is not one industry or person to blame for the lack of empathy that exists in today’s consumerist world.
It is the worship of material engrained in our minds that fuels this chase for money over the concern for people.
It is not the airlines’ faults that they overbook flights. According to economic standards, it is not unethical, as various industries are always willing to exploit the customer for profit. Last year, airlines in America unwillingly bumped 40,000 passengers due to overbooking. Another 434,000 passengers voluntarily gave their seats up after being overbooked.
If one airline decides to be oh so ethical and stops overbooking its flights, it will lose significant revenue in seats for passengers that do not show up. Its’ several conscienceless competitors will happily consume the extra customers and burp a larger profit after its tasty meal of outdoing the competition. A classic example of industry cannibalism.
We will always find a villain to blame when we feel our rights are being stripped by capitalism, whether it be United for overbooking its flight or that lone politician who didn’t hide his corruption as well as the others did. The truth is that the villain is lurking at every corner, always enticing us to make more money faster, easier and to spend it quicker than ever before.
So remember the next time you book a flight; the airlines don’t care about you, and they shouldn’t. You are only their vehicle to make a bigger profit. Don’t be alarmed if they overbooked and happen to kick you off the flight. Be sure to put up the biggest protest you possibly can, because it increases your chances of being able to sue. You can bring along ketchup as fake blood too, in case they don’t abuse as much as you need.
By: Shameelah Patel
Please note that opinions expressed are the author’s own. They do not necessarily reflect the views and values of The Blank Page.