Tuesday 25 April 2017

United Airlines row shouldn't shock us - this is 'customer service' in the airline industry​ after all

I sort of wonder why everyone was so shocked about what happened the other day on a United Airlines flight. Photo: AP
I sort of wonder why everyone was so shocked about what happened the other day on a United Airlines flight. Photo: AP

Catherine O'Mahony

About 20 years ago, at 5am on a misty Saturday, a friend and I pulled up - bleary-eyed - in a taxi at a small local airport in Turkey, an hour before our scheduled flight home.

As we paid the driver and dragged our bags out, a loud thrumming noise filled the air. We hurried inside the building to join a throng of around 100 fellow passengers clustered at the window that gave a view on to the runway. We all watched as a large plane - which bore the logo of the airline we had booked with - taxied along the runway, accelerated, and took off. "What's going on?" we asked someone, fearing the worst. "That's our plane," came the confirmation.

To our right came the crashing noise of a heavy blind being pulled down on our airline's check-in desk. It took a minute or so for us to understand that the staff were scarpering.

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