You can't really make stuff like this up: The jingle encourages to "Fly the friendly skies of United." It's right there in the company's name: United. A people united shall not be defeated. That's not theirs. It comes from another line of inquiry. Still, you would expect more of a "People's Airline" from this bunch, wouldn't you?
A United flight from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked, and as become the custom, volunteers were asked to give up their seats to accommodate those who absolutely positively had to get on that particular flight. No takers. The friendly folks at United upped their cash award to eight hundred dollars from four hundred along with food and lodging for the night in the City of the Big Shoulders. No takers.
At this point, I feel compelled to rehash the story my wife likes to tell about the time she and her mother and brothers went on a bike tour of Europe. On their way home, they were desperately low on cash, and so when the call went up to negotiate for their overbooked seats, they happily gave theirs up for the money. This experience repeated itself the next day when they went back to the airport. When they finally made their way back to the United States, they were fat and happy with an extra couple days on their adventure with something more than their carry-ons to carry off. This was the happy version.
Back in Chicago, things did not go as well. A man who claimed to be a doctor on his way home to care for his patients was forcibly removed from the flight. By police who were called to the terminal. Forcibly. Decidedly not friendly.
Now we can assume that the cash award of eight hundred dollars will be exceeded once a settlement is made with the gentleman who was carried off the plane. Feel free at this moment to discuss emergency evacuation procedures on your next flight. And keep this in mind: After he had been dragged off by police, the man apparently tried to get back on the plane. This is a guy who takes his Hippocratic Oath very seriously. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that United Airlines has the same kind of thing in place for their treatment of passengers. The flight was delayed still further when customers were asked to deplane while the blood was cleaned up from the scuffle. Wasn't that friendly?