By Piper Bayard and Jay Holmes
US Airways CEO Doug Parker has earned the honor of having his otherwise pathetic existence being mentioned on our web page. Doug’s claim to infamy is based on the fact that he collects a $2.8 million paycheck as the CEO of US Airways.
US Airways recently got some attention in the media, and like most of the attention that it has received since its merger with America West in 2005, that recent attention was negative.
On June 15, a US Airways pilot had Deshon Marman, 20, arrested because he did not pull up his pants above his boxer shorts in a timely fashion. An employee at the boarding gate in San Francisco asked Marman to pull up the baggy pajamas he was wearing because he was exposing his boxer shorts to God and everybody, none of whom cared to see them. According to his mother, who was traveling with him, Deshon’s hands were full of his luggage so he was not able to comply immediately. Instead, he boarded the plane, then pulled up his pants and sat down. As a result of his “defiance” of an order from a US Airways employee, the plane was evacuated, and he was taken away in handcuffs with the whole Reality TV treatment. Click here for more.
We have no problem with US Airways not allowing people in sagging pajamas to fly on planes that other members of the general public are paying to share. We’re personally sick and tired of people running around in public in their pajamas and underwear, and we’re glad US Airways showed a little bit of respect for the rest of the passengers by booting this youngster from the plane. But the story doesn’t end there. . . .
We have since found out that on June 9, six days prior to that incident, a middle-aged man dressed only in scanty women’s lingerie and a see-through shrug was allowed to board a US Airways flight in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Several passengers complained about the cross-dresser’s lack of clothing, but their complaints were ignored, and the panty-clad fellow was allowed to complete his flight.
We see a double standard in this. If flying in scanty women’s underwear with no pants or skirt meets US Airways’ minimum requirements for attire, why was the young football player booted for having his boxer shorts exposed? While many people are offended by the overt display of boxer shorts, more people are offended by people walking around in any public place in nothing but their underwear, regardless of whether it is gender appropriate.
From our point of view, US Airways showed a lack of respect for its passengers when it allowed the Florida cross-dresser to board the plane without sufficient clothing. Had he chosen to fly in a black evening gown, an Ann Taylor ensemble, or any clothing similar to that worn by any other passenger, male or female, we would mind our own business concerning his personal dress preferences, and we would fly on the same plane without complaining.
We suspect what occurred here was political correctness run amok. While we would not want any cross-dresser to suffer any negative discrimination simply because they choose attire from the “other” side of the department store, we also don’t think that being a cross-dresser should earn anyone any special entitlements. Shame on US Airways for such spineless discrimination against it’s non-cross-dressing passengers.
The young man traveling in baggy pajamas was smart enough to contract an attorney. We don’t know how US Airways defense team is going to explain away the comparison to the cross-dresser. At this point, it looks like a jury will have the chance to sort that out.
Normally, we wouldn’t automatically blame the CEO for what could be the conduct of a few employees who are ignoring corporate policy, but US Airways has a long and distinguished record of bad customer service. Just so you don’t think we’re being too harsh with Douggie Parker, we’d like to point out a couple of the more heinous incidents at US Airways that we can recall.
- In May, 2009, a blind man was dragged off a flight, jailed, and told he was faking his blindness. His crime? He was asking too many questions about why the flight was delayed. Click here.
- US Airways booted a man with cerebral palsy from one of its planes in October, 2010, saying the man was too disabled to fly. Never mind that the man is a professional motivational speaker who has flown thousands of miles without his disability being an issue. Click here.
- In January, 2011, they left an elderly stroke victim stranded in her wheelchair in the rain. Click here.
Since such an outstanding record of passenger abuse is evidence of a top-down problem, we are awarding US Airways CEO Doug Parker with a Cyber Smack. This prize includes weekly commutes as a normal passenger on his airline. To make his travel experience more entertaining (for the rest of us) Douggie will be required to negotiate the TSA checkpoint not once, but four times for each flight, and he will be required to fly in a wheelchair, with a mask covering his eyes. He will also be seated next to Rosie O’Donnell, who will be clothed in nothing except men’s underwear.
If Doug Parker proves to be more intrepid than we assume he is, and he actually survives a year of flying on US Airways without being killed or committing suicide, perhaps the experience will help him develop some compassion toward his passengers.
If you’ve suffered the misfortune of flying US Airways at some point in time, please share any special messages you may have for Douggie below in the comments.
Have you had any Close Encounters of the Troubling Kind with your airline carrier? Are there any airlines or airline employees you would like to give a Cyber Smack?