Oops, they did it again…
Just as it seemed the United CEO Oscar Munoz had finally begun to understand that you can catch more fliers with honey than with vinegar, the airlines from hell blew it again this week, killing an apparently healthy three-foot-long continental giant rabbit on a flight from Heathrow to O’Hare.
The incident came just three weeks after United won international infamy when images of a 69-year-old doctor being violently dragged off a flight out of Chicago in order to make space for a crew member on an overbooked flight went viral (with Munoz spending the first 48 hours after the beating and battering blaming the passenger for the mishap), followed a week later by an incident in which the airlines kicked a couple on their way to their wedding in Costa Rica off a flight because they dared to sit in the wrong seats.
But now, it seems United has killed the Easter Bunny, the tragic news breaking the very same day that Munoz decided (about two weeks late) to follow the example of American Airlines and promise never again to assault another seated passenger (no such assurance for unseated passengers) and to instead to offer vouchers of up to $10,000 for those who voluntarily — and the operative word here is voluntarily — give up their seats on overbooked flights.
A voucher for $10,000 may sound like a lot of money, but compared to the $770 million the company’s stock tanked in the week following the less-than-friendly debarkation of Dr. David Dao, it is a mere pittance.
As for the rabbit — who was flying under the alias of Simon, but who we all know he was really the Easter Bunny, no doubt headed back from a well-deserved post-paschal holiday in England to check out his chicken farms in Chicago after the spring ova rush (I mean, who ever heard of a three-foot-long rabbit who wasn’t in the egg-delivery business?) — he had been thoroughly checked out by a certified veterinarian just three hours before boarding the United flight and declared him “fit as a fiddle.”
So, the question remains, who killed the Easter Bunny (aka, Simon), and why?
Did someone on United’s SafePet team (yes, that is what the airline calls its animal-transport service) decide they needed Simon’s cage space to accommodate an in-house pit bull terroir?
Did Munoz’ own pet Rottweiler blitzkrieg the poor bunny for invading his personal air space on his master’s intended getaway flight from United’s head offices in Houston?
Who will be next on the SafePet team’s kill list? Rudolph?
Meanwhile, there are no signs out of Houston that Munoz’ much-anticipated resignation is forthcoming.
Perhaps it is time for the Chicago Aviation Police Department officers who so graciously escorted Dr. Dao off Flight 3411 on April 9 to pay a visit to Munoz’ corporate offices and offer him a taste of United Airlines’ famed hospitality.
Thérèse Margolis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.