United Passenger “Removal”: A Reporting and Management Fail | naked capitalism

This is the best piece I’ve read yet on United’s “re-accommodation” fiasco.

As disturbing as is the now widely-discussed incident of the brute force removal of a 69 year old doctor from a United flight last week, equally troubling is the poor job the press has done on such a high profile and relatively simple story. We’ll go over some of the glaring and regular errors as well as troubling oversights before turning to another puzzlingly under-examined issue: what this incident says about management at United. And we don’t mean arrogance and tone-deafness.

Reporting Failures

Widespread misreporting of the cause of the incident as “overbooking”. It would be difficult to figure out how to construct a reasonable sample, from reading a large number of accounts of the incident, a substantial majority, which I would guesstimate as being in the 75% range, refer to the cause of United’s perceived need to eject the elderly passenger, Dr. David Dao, as “overbooking”. Confirming this impression is that that four Senators and Governor Chris Christie, when weighing in on the incident, all referred to it as the result of overbooking or overselling.

Source: United Passenger “Removal”: A Reporting and Management Fail | naked capitalism

Overbooking should be fraud

Admit one (well, if we feel like it) [courtesy torbakhopper@flickr]


Yesterday’s shitstorm caused by United Airlines’s beating up a passenger has brought the practice of overbooking into sharp focus. Why do we let airlines get away with overbooking? How is this even legal? A ticket is essentially a contract: In exchange for my money, you will take me from point A to point B. Seems pretty simple, right? So why are airlines allowed to renege on that contract?

Let’s say you planned to take your sweetie out for a big date at a concert. You bought your tickets months in advance and made arrangements for transportation, hotel, etc. You and your sweetie get all dressed up, show up at the arena, and get settled in your seats only to be tossed from the arena because they are “oversold.” You’d feel like burning something down, wouldn’t you? And yet airlines do this every day.

Now, let’s imagine that you made reservations for dinner on your date night but the restaurant canceled them. Sure, you’d probably be pissed but a reservation is free. You haven’t put up any money and so you are getting what you paid for. You expect the restaurant to honor the reservation but you know that since you don’t have any skin in the game you have to go along. See the difference?
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Google’s “Someone has your password” emails still ripe for abuse

Fraud or not? Always be on guard!

I got another “Someone has your password” emails today from Google’s security team. These appear to be sent due to a flaw in the way Google geolocates the IP addresses used by our T-Mobile phones and are thus false alarms. That doesn’t keep me from freaking out every time I get one, however.

What’s more, it is exactly these emails that compromised John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee’s emails during the campaign. I consider myself fairly savvy at detecting phishing emails but I have to admit that the fake email the Russians sent was good enough to have had a chance of catching me.

I emailed a friend at Google to make sure the company knew their geolocation stuff was in need of serious work. My friend replied that Google is aware that their algorithm needs work and were working on a way to receive feedback from the message recipients. It appears Google’s “New sign in from … ” emails have a feedback link at the bottom but the “Someone has your password” emails still do not.

I appreciate getting alerts when unauthorized activity is detected but I could certainly do without the false alarms.

Still here

Well, yesterday was the day I was supposed to die according to the Death Dream. I’m still here and still just as annoying as I ever was. Perhaps moreso. Aren’t you glad?

All’s well in the end

I’m done with today’s colonoscopy and, even better, I’m off the hook for another five years. The doctor removed another small polyp but that appeared to be the last. Other than that all was routine.

We got to the endoscopy office and waited at the elevator with another, older couple. Mr. B, dressed like me in sweatpants and a long-sleeve T-shirt, jokingly asked me “how was your night of sleep?”

“I’ve had better!” I laughed, recognizing the Patient Uniform we both were wearing. It was Mr. B’s second colonoscopy, ten years after his first. I told him the second time was easier though with a gap of ten years he might have forgotten all about the first. Mr. B got seen first and I’d wished I’d had more time to chat with him because he and his wife were so friendly and nice.
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Scoping out today’s colonoscopy events

Today I head in for my colonoscopy. I’m to arrive an hour early (8 AM) to make sure paperwork gets filled out, any remaining questions get answered, and to get changed into my gown. While I set settled on a hospital bed, an anesthesiologist will insert an IV into my arm. The doctor will meet with me to answer any other questions I might have and then when the procedure room is ready I’ll get wheeled into it.

Once in the room, I’ll have the opportunity to say hello to the team doing the colonoscopy, usually two other staffers (nurse and anesthesiologist, I believe) and the doctor. I’ll get shifted from the hospital bed to a operating table and told to lie on my left side with my knees pulled up at my chest. I’ll get EKG leads attached to my chest to measure my vital signs.
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Day of colonoscopy prep

So I made it to the tail end (ha!) of my day of colonoscopy preparation and its been better than the first time. What does a day of colonoscopy preparation mean? I’m about to tell ya. Why do I tell ya? Not because it’s glamorous or fun, but because someday, Dear Reader, you may also be faced with having to get a colonoscopy and you’ll be thinking “dammit, why didn’t I listen to that blogger guy, Whatisname?”

Beginning Monday, I switched to a mostly diet – not because anyone told me to but because I wanted today to be as smooth as possible. I bought a case of Ensure-type nutritional shakes at Costco and swigged them throughout the day yesterday, pausing only for a four-egg dinner because I got so hungry by the end of yesterday. Today, though, was an all clear-liquids diet. That meant Gatorade, Jello, and chicken broth. Mostly Gatorade, as I’ll explain in a moment.
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