28 April 2017

Boycott United Airlines Memorial Day weekend, and see what happens.

That's my two cents on the great international soul-searching dialogue of people sad, upset, and angry that a ruthless monopolistic* corporation showed itself to be a ruthless monopolistic corporation on more than one occasion this year. 

I used to fly United quite a lot (within the US) and can assure you there was no golden age of great customer service that selfish millennials like me destroyed.  I have not flown at all for three and a half years now.

I have tried to read a broad spectrum of opinions on this topic, within reason (I know there are people blaming everything on The Gays, but there are only so many hours in the day).  On the left there are some people who say only the complete eschatological overthrow of capitalism and MOAR CLASS CONSCIOUSNESS among workers** will do anything; and then on the right there are people who blame American consumers for being cheap in all things (except of course accepting overbook vouchers).

So here's my hot-take 'centrist' view:  maybe the world wouldn't completely grind to a halt and Stephen Colbert die of bird flu if people stopped buying the product from the badly-behaving company for a short time.  Assuming (conservatively) that Memorial Day weekend is an average three-day period from a United Airlines revenue standpoint, it accounts for $258.55 million in revenue [data crunched based on this document].  So that's almost a brand-new Boeing 777 right there.

This strange, unprecedented form of collective action is undoubtedly scary to many.  So to assuage those fears, I suggest we call it "a credible signaling system."

*It may be more accurate to say "oligopolistic," but I'm not an economist angling for a Wall Street Journal column.
**It may be a useful exercise for these people to research how many times airline workers of various types have gone on strike.

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