Monday, April 17, 2017

Week of 04/17/2017

We Need To Change Before Big Airlines Decide To
Like many of you, I was disgusted by the violent video of a paying customer being beaten up and forcibly removed from his seat in a United Airlines jet.  I wasn’t surprised by the violence, though, because any time you bring a thug goon squad with badges on a plane, that will happen.
I also wasn’t surprised by what United Airlines did after the incident.  Their disgusting playbook of blaming the victim for their own orchestrated incident, for denying they “overbooked” the flight and then falsely claiming that it “keeps prices low”, and then, only when their stock sinks like a rock, they make the false promise of “this will never happen again”.
Yes, like many of you, I was pissed at hearing all of this.  And this was on top of the incident with the “leggings”, and before the latest news about a passenger being stung by a scorpion while on another United flight.  And it comes as airlines get rid of more and more so-called “luxuries” for certain passengers, including overhead storage and the number of carry-on items they can bring on the plane.
It’s pretty clear that the big corporate airlines suffer from a sociopathic streak of outright sadism in the name of profit.  To hear business apologists claim that the airlines “really do not make much in profits” is about as genuine as Bill Clinton’s claim that he “never had sexual relations with that woman”.  You cannot boast about record profits on one hand and then claim poverty in the next.  That is the kind of hypocrisy that start bar fights.
So... what to do about it?
Well boycotting United doesn’t work, because the airlines along with career government regulators and politicians have conspired to eliminate competition and create yet another corporate oligarchy.  In certain parts of the country, you have no choice which airline you use.  You’ll either fly United or you fly some subsidiary of United, and that’s it.  And it’s not like the other members of Big Airlines are any better!  They all conspire to keep us miserable so as to keep themselves rich.
Regulation?  In the age of the Cult of Trump?  Are you out of your mind?  Trump and his corporate minions have been very busy eliminating regulations that protect the ordinary human being from the for-profit sadism!  Besides, just like French nobility would tell the starving masses “let them eat cake”, Trump and his people would probably tell us to simply charter a private jet if we don’t like Big Airlines.  After all, that’s what *they* do, right?
So no matter how many hearings that Congress put on, we really should not count on them to come to the aid of the struggling human beings, and we sure as hell cannot count on Trump and his corporate minions to help ordinary human beings.  We simply do not matter to them, even when we put on those stupid red hats.
That leaves us with only one other option.
Stop flying.
No, I’m not talking about boycotting one airline or just “the worst” of the airlines.  I’m talking about all of them. 
Stop flying, period.
No more business flights.  No more flights for Spring Break.  No more flights to Disneyland.  No more flights to Hawaii.  No more flights to Europe or the Middle East.  No more flights to visit the relatives.  Take the bus.  Take the train.  Rent a car.  Charter a cruise line.  Teleconference.  Or just don’t go there at all.  Stop flying.
Yes, that is dramatic.  It is extreme.
But let’s get brutally honest here... that is the only way - the *only* way - that Big Airlines will really change their attitudes.
Big Airlines are allowed to be outright goddamned sadistic to their paying customers because they know that, no matter what they do, we the stupid fawning sheep will still cough up our money and put up with the sadism just so we can get to where we want to be.  They could force us to strip naked for “security” and have us standing, squeezed in like cattle during the whole flight, charge extra for breathing air, and be subject to removal for any reason or even for no reason, simply because they know that we are stupid enough to pay for the “convenience”.
Once enough of us collectively decide to stop flying, however, that all changes.  Then Big Airlines stop making record profits.  Then they stop making profits, period.  Then the pressure is put on them by their shareholders to do better to get us to start flying again.  That means bringing back the things that they originally took away from us like carry-on luggage and overhead bins.  That means stop treating passengers like sheep to be fleeced for their profit sweaters.
Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately that probably won’t happen, because that would require us, the stupid selfish masses, to make the sacrifices first.  And we don’t want to make the sacrifices, do we?  No, of course not!  We’re lazy!
Remember the high gas prices?  What would have really cured us from Big Oil’s unchecked greed?  For us to change our driving habits and to stop buying gas-chugging urban assault vehicles. 
Who told you this?  I did.  Repeatedly.  Did you listen to me?  Of course not!  Because we don’t want to change our habits and our routines.  We’re lazy!  We expect other people to make the sacrifices and to change their habits so we won’t have to.
And it’s the same way with the airlines.  We’ll put up with the hoops and hurdles that Big Airlines demand of us.  We’ll go through security checkpoints like prisoners.  We’ll show up hours in advance simply because they demand us to be.  You know, “for security”!  We’ll pay extra for that “second seat” because they consciously shrink seat widths to squeeze us in tighter.  We’ll give up having carry-on luggage and pay extra to have everything checked in as luggage, because, you know, profit.  And we’ll wait however long it takes as their prisoner and suffer any indignity possible like frogs in a slowly-boiling pot for the “privilege” of flying their airlines because... “it’s convenient”.  We’re lazy!  And they know us all too well!
Do you want that to change?  Do you *really* want that to change?  Then *you* – not Big Airlines – will have to make the sacrifice needed for them to change.  You have to consciously decide to stop flying before they will make the needed changes.  If you refuse to do your part, if you don’t have the strength to do it, if you are too goddammed lazy, then you have no right at all to complain when things do not change for the better simply because “you’re pissed”.  All that tells Big Airlines, along with the rest of Corporate America, is that you’re just not “pissed off” enough.

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