Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Manhandled United Air Passenger, Manipulation, and Me

On the passenger forcibly removed from the United Airlines flight:

I'm finishing up travel arrangements for a trip later in the year, and there's no easy way to get from Calgary, Alberta, to the Greater Oxnard (California) Area by rail, so I'll be taking a plaGne. (The rest of the trip is Amtrak and a fancy-shmancy train operation in Canada.) So I've been thinking about United and overbooking and, egotistically, me.

Over-arching thought: I don't like to be manipulated. I prefer bribery to coercion, but I really don't like when people try to get me to do what they want me to do without ordering me, if I accept their authority, or convincing me. Also, I'm old, and my "heirs and assigns" are doing well and don't need a whole lot of money from my estate.

If we're talking a relatively minor delay and/or enough money to make a movie — and if any of you have a few hundred thousand bucks lying around, I've got a project — if we're talking a a few hundred thousand dollars to maybe a couple million — I know people with bigger projects — oh, yeah, I can be bribed! Short of that, though, I might get stubborn if booked for a flight and would just tell the airline to offer increasing bribes to people who need the money, 'cause whatever their algorithms say, I'm not the person to ask to get off the plane or, far more likely, not get on.

Similarly with coupons, "miles," "points," "loyalty programs" and other marketing bullshit. I saved money for forty years because I wanted security in retirement, but also freedom. And freedom includes being able to tell people who want me to do what they want me to do for trivial to small sums — Thanks, but no thanks.

I will accept a free gift, freely offered, e.g., upgrade to the magical world of Business Class or whatever the class is that lets you wait in "The Admirals' Club"; but relatively small bribes? Nah, it's not priceless but worth a lot to me to tell a large corporation to screw themselves.

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