CLIVE SMITH: Why are airlines allowed to routinely overbook flights?

United Airlines is experiencing strife after one of its passengers was dragged from an overbooked plane.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 18th April 2017, 6:01 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:22 pm
Turn the water hose on them, says Clive
Turn the water hose on them, says Clive

Dr David Dao, 69, was hauled off by airport police in Chicago and was left bloodied and bruised.

Unfortunately for the airline, the incident was filmed on a smartphone and shortly after the whole world was able to see. Cue general outrage.

Even a White House spokesman voiced disquiet at the ‘disturbing’ video and said that President Donald Trump was ‘sure’ to have seen it.

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Now United Airlines chief executive Oscar Munoz says he feels ‘shame and embarrassment’ and has vowed that a passenger will never be dragged screaming from one of its planes again.

But his apologies have not stopped the storm of criticism.

The company’s shares have fallen dramatically, but so has Dr Dao’s stock amongst his friends, I reckon.

What was that screaming all about? Embarrassing.

It’s not the sort of thing you’d live down with people who know you.

If that was me, I’m sure my friends would be replaying it on YouTube at every opportunity.

Yes, I agree that no-one would go quietly if you were hauled off a flight you’d paid for fair and square.

It’s not something that airlines should be allowed to do.

But nevertheless, all that was missing from Dr Dao’s dramatic repertoire was shouting ‘you’ll never take me alive!’

I just can’t see why airlines are allowed to routinely overbook their flights anyway.

You don’t turn up at the cinema to watch Iron Man with the kids and one of them has to sit in the car with an overpriced box of popcorn whilst everyone else is enjoying the film because the multiplex owners have overbooked on purpose.

It’s a poor way to run a business.

I don’t actually understand why they do it.

I mean, the company has already got its money when the flight is booked, so someone not turning up isn’t going to affect its profits, is it?


The fire service has been busy recently as the change in weather has brought out the firebugs amongst the Portsmouth population.

The blaze at the derelict Fraser Range ex-navy training centre is a prime example.

People have been calling for national service, as if kids entering derelict buildings and causing mischief is another wrong with modern society.

It isn’t. Kids have always done and always will do this sort of thing.

If something goes wrong whilst they are doing it, they’ve only got themselves to blame.

What I don’t understand is those who started throwing stones at the emergency services when they arrived to put out the fire. Turn the water hose on them!


It’s common to see begging when you visit poorer countries in the world.

But these days you’re also likely to see western backpackers asking for money to help finance their travels around the globe.

I expect the lady who intentionally cut her own arm off so she can get more money just loves it when she turns up to her usual begging spot and is greeted by English kids in terrible tie-dyed clothes and stupid dreadlocks holding signs asking for money for a visit to the Cook Islands.

Well, I need a new 40in flatscreen TV, so I’m thinking of going down the town soon, making a sign and asking everyone who passes by for handouts.

Forget about the hungry hobo and his dog on a string – I’ve got shows I want to watch!