Lessons from United Airlines
It’s been a crazy week in the airline industry. By now everyone has either seen or certainly heard about the United Airlines passenger who was dragged off the plan. For those who haven’t seen the video, we’ve included one of the many versions here.
This passenger has already boarded the plan and was being bumped – legally under federal law – for 5 United crew members who needed seats. What took place on the plane – and off – was astounding. Not only was the passenger forcefully and violently dragged from the plane, but United’s CEO originally defended the action. He of course later recanted.
Since then numerous articles have been written about your rights as a passenger, why airlines can underpay bumped passengers, and what you can do about it. Delta airlines – whose had more than their fair share of problems recently – even upped their compensation for bumping a passenger to $2,000.
What the Data Shows
The Department of Transportation (DOT) reported that in 2015 505,000 passengers voluntarily accepted bumps and 46,000 were involuntarily bumped. That’s an astounding number – 46,000! I realize it’s a small fraction of the 632 million people who fly commercially each year, but that’s a lot of angry passengers. The math makes sense though. Airlines who highly advanced analytics to predict who will show, who will cancel, and how they can sell more seats to maximize profits.
It’s actually a good thing for all of us. It helps keep prices down and more affordable for those of us who want to fly. But they’re completely missing the customer service side of it. As the Harvard Business Review article linked to above notes, the best move for United would’ve been to hire a car service to take their crew from Chicago to Louisville. It’s a 5 hour drive. Not ideal, but not catastrophic as this has ended up.
This will pass in the end. It will live for a few more news cycles. Then something else will hit. The practice of bumping passengers will continue (though many airlines now say they won’t bump passengers whom have already boarded the plane). And in the end, someone will inevitably make this mistake again.
What We’ve Learned
There’s only one thing we know for sure. There are no bumps on Flight 282! Once you’re on the plane, no crew member is kicking you off. Heck, there’s a bomb on that plane. We’re fine letting you be the hero to disarm it!
We haven’t even officially announced our Beta Testers program yet. That will come in a few weeks, but already people are signing up. Flight 282 is clearly going to be one of our most popular games. It’s still the only escape room we know of that truly puts you in the cabin of a plane with real seats, working overhead bins, beverage carts, and a replica cockpit.
If you want an hour-long flight you’re actually going to enjoy, Flight 282 promises to be that flight! If you want to be bumped from a flight, we’re betting United is still a likely culprit.