How Come No One Offered to Take the Dragged Passenger’s Place?

The United Airlines passenger-dragging has a ubiquitous presence on the Internet, TV, radio, and at work gathering places. Every opinion possible has been uttered, save one. Yes, we have no rights as passengers. Yes, United did not handle things well. Yes, this is a PR nightmare. Yes, the lawyers are circling. But, the Barometer sees shortcomings and failures in others beyond United and airport police. How come not one of the seated passengers offered to take the man’s place? There would have been nothing wrong with a passenger saying, “It’s not worth this, I can get off the plane.”

As a frequent flyer, the Barometer has pretty much seen it all, especially the selfishness of travelers. The walking on the backs of other passengers to get on the plane as quickly as possible. The Shetland-pony-size comfort pets. This is a wild crowd. Air travel is not for the faint-hearted. But, when there is tension in the air, and you are not involved, how about easing the tension instead of contributing to injuries, a lawsuit, and a multi-million-dollar award? It is difficult to know who is right and who is wrong, but you know when someone is being physically harmed. Passengers in the video were saying, “This is not right.” No, it was not, no matter who did what, when, and why. Victims of the bystander effect, not a single passenger stepped in. Preventing escalation and further harm is a good thing. So, step in. Help out. Sacrifice.

The Barometer has given up her carry-on bag space to appease foul-mouthed passengers, agitated because they don’t want to check their bags. The Barometer has switched seats when other passengers refused. The Barometer has no expectations on air travel, save one The flight must be relatively crash-free. And 99.9% of the time, my expectation is met. I am grateful for that. Any other inconveniences are solvable and make for great stories. The Barometer would have offered to get off the plane. Frequent flyers know that they will, somehow, get from Chicago to Louisville. A small price to pay to stop the blood-drawing dragging of a human being through the aisle of a regional jet. Life is short. Opportunities to help abound. And in this season, would it have been too much for a single passenger to make a sacrifice to save another?

About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD. The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards. Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader's Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio. She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News. In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles. Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.
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