United’s Latest Scandal Moves From Incredibly Dumb to Downright Dangerous

You thought dragging a passenger off a plane was bad…

Share on
BY Jessica Stillman - 16 Jun 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

2017 really hasn't been United's year. While the social media frenzy caused by the airline dragging 71-year-old Dr. David Dao off an overbooked plane was definitely the high water mark of bad PR for the company, United has been facing a continual drip of complaints about its poor customer service.

That is damaging to the company's reputation, of course. But at least it so far hasn't been damaging to anyone's health (excepting poor Dr. Dao, of course). The latest scandal to hit the airline this week is a brush with actual tragedy.

The story starts pleasantly enough with recently married couple Rachael Brumfield and her husband Mike sitting on the tarmac at Newark airport waiting for their flight to take off. They were heading to their honeymoon in Venice.

Hey, isn't jet fuel kind of flammable?

Brumfield, was already nervous for her first transatlantic flight, according to the New York Post, and it certainly didn't help matters when she glanced out her window and saw jet fuel streaming from the plane's wing. Like any freaked out modern consumer would, Brumfield and her husband instantly did two things: stand up and run for the flight attendant and post a pic on Twitter.

Did the crew thank the hawk-eyed couple? (Though really you could be half-blind and see that fuel spill.) Of course they didn't. They screamed at the couple to sit down.

"He's like, 'But something's not right,'" Brumfield relates to The New York Post. "They said, 'Is it an emergency?' He said, 'I don't know,' so they said, 'Go sit down.' They said, 'Everything's normal.'"

Everything was obviously not normal, however, so the couple persisted until the crew finally noticed the gusher of fuel and made a mad dash for the cockpit. Fire trucks soon streamed towards the plane and the flight was canceled.

The inconvenienced honeymooners were initially treated well by United. "The stewardesses who'd dismissed Mike came by to thank him, and the couple were invited into the cockpit, where they were given a glass of champagne and showed the pilots footage they'd taken of the fuel fountain. The flyboys looked seriously shaken by the video," the Post reports.

Is a room for the night too much to ask?

But don't worry, United was soon back to its usual fine form. Despite the airline reportedly asking the couple to "go easy on them on social media," they still couldn't manage to get the pair re-booked onto a flight until the next day, nor accommodate them for the night.

The honeymooners ended up sleeping "on the floor of the baggage claim until 7:30 a.m., when another passenger who did score a hotel voucher spotted them and offered the two heroes the room," notes the Post article.

United hasn't addressed the couple's experience directly, but did seem to dispute that they failed to put up the plane's passengers in a statement. "Our team helped provide customers with hotel accommodations for the night and are working to get them back on their way to Venice today," the company said.

Another passenger offered the couple a limo to their new flight, the Post adds, so at least there's some goodness in the world. But there's not much good news here for United.

"I will never fly United again," Brumfield declared,

After hearing any more stories like this, who would?