Saturday, March 24, 2018

How to finagle something for nothing from an airline

To finagle something from someone is to use deception or deceit or various tricks to get something from a person that he/she does not really want to give you.

United Airlines has been having a bad year. They have experienced a lot of bad publicity (bad stories about the company). The latest bad publicity was the death of Kokito - the French bulldog - in one of their overhead bins.

In this article we hear that a person was 'bumped' from a United flight because a seat on the plane was broken and one passenger had to be removed. 

United has a policy of asking for volunteers when passengers have to be removed and they reward the volunteers with a voucher for free travel if they help by leaving the plane.

If nobody volunteers, they 'bump' or remove the person who bought the cheapest ticket. Why? I am guessing they feel that the person who paid the least for a ticket will complain the least. This person is also given a voucher.

So they decided to bump someone who is a communications director for a company. This person has over 2,000 Twitter followers and when she was bumped she started bad-mouthing United to her twitter friends, hoping to create a new scandal for the airline (I am guessing). In order to avoid another scandal United gave this person a $10,000 voucher (so that she would shut up). But she did not shut up - she began boasting about how she finagled something valuable from the airline. So United just cannot seem to win these days.

Personally, I think she took advantage of the airline and she should be ashamed of herself. People do not even try to look at situations through anyone else's perspective any more. What else was the airline going to do? She only paid $160 for a ticket and they offered her a $1,000 voucher. Be a good person, take the $1,000 voucher and get on the next plane. No? Why does everyone have to be such a drama queen?

Please show some sympathy for United Airlines...

The article:

Vocabulary from the article:

a bumped passenger - a passenger who is removed from an airline flight, often because the airline has sold more tickets than seats available

to score a voucher - to win a voucher, to score something is to get something valuable for free or at a discount.  e.g. Hey! I scored free tickets to the Chicago Sympathy Orchestra concert tonight! My roommate can't go and he gave them to me!

k  - 1,000, so 10K = 10,000

a tirade - a long speech where a person expresses anger; when a person expresses anger verbally for a long time. e.g. Our boss was so angry about losing this client that he went on a 30 minute tirade telling us all that we suck!

to finagle something from someone - to get something you do not deserve by using psychological games or by tricking the other person

to be smarting - to be suffering, to be feeling pain.  Even though I fell skiing 3 days ago, my left knee is still smarting.

a string of something - a sequence of something. So if you have had 5 bad boyfriends in a row, you might say, "Wow, I have had a string of 5 bad boyfriends, when is my luck going to change?!"

public relations - every big company has a public relations department. This department tries to make the company look good. If you have a public relations disaster, it means things have happened to make your company look bad.  

smarting from a string of public relations disasters - United is suffering from a bunch of bad news stories in a row

a company rep - a company representative

she got the boot - she got kicked off the plane, she was removed from the plane.  e.g. Wow our company is firing a lot of people these days! I heard three people from our department got the boot today. or: Our boss gave the boot to three people from our department today.

to be enraged - to be very, very angry

to vent about something - to complain about something in order to make yourself feel better. e.g. Sorry for calling you and telling you this, I just had to vent!

if nobody bites - if nobody accepts the offer.  If you go fishing you put something attractive to the fish on your hook and hope a fish bites. If you offer something to a group of people, you hope someone bites.

on the upside - the good news is

I wasn't physically dragged off the plane etc. - this is sarcasm, she is saying thank God United didn't beat me up like Dr. Dao or kill my dog like Kokito.

United upped its offer - it increased its offer

to toss in a perk - to throw in an extra benefit; a perk is an added benefit

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Affluence - Affluenza (Catch this disease!!!!)

Affluence means wealth. If you are an affluent person, you are a rich or wealthy person.

Recently a rich young man killed two people with his car. His lawyer said that he should not be punished because he was not responsible for his actions. His wealthy parents, because they were so wealthy, never taught their son the difference between right and wrong. So they never taught him how to be an ethical or moral (good) person.

Should wealthy children be shown mercy when they commit crimes because their parents do not teach them to be ethical? 😅

I think that affluenza must be a difficult disease to catch, since you need to have about $25 million in your bank account first.

The article:

Vocabulary from the article:

affluenza - the disease of not knowing what is right or wrong because your parents were very rich and never taught you to be good

probation supervision - he will have to report to an office every month to be checked on

juvenile court - court for children

testifying on his behalf - speaking for him in court

an affliction - a disease or painful condition

to be spoiled - when your parents let you do anything you want and do not show any kind of discipline toward you or they do not set good standards for your behavior

fled - flee, fled, fled...they ran away

fatalities - deaths

the sentence - this means the punishment in this instance

it spanned the systems - it carried over from the juvenile to the adult system

excessive - too much

to place him behind bars - to put him in jail

hindering the apprehension of someone - making it harder for the police to catch someone

a fugitive - someone running away from justice

money laundering - making money illegally and then hiding it in a real, legal business

The curious case of that dog (Kokito) dying on an airplane

Yes, that was Kokito, the dog which died in the overhead bin (compartment) of an airplane recently.

Many people around the world are quite angry at the flight attendant for ordering a passenger to place the dog in the overhead bin. Yet, I think that the flight attendant was under a great deal of pressure and this was just an unfortunate accident.

Furthermore, the carrier could not have been left in the aisle and it was too large, apparently, to be placed under a seat. If the flight attendant was only providing the option of the overhead bin, perhaps the passenger should have just taken her dog and left the airplane. I am confused as to why the passenger did not simply ask that the dog be placed in the cargo hold (with the luggage and other dogs).

They are still talking about possibly arresting the flight attendant, which I think would be an over-reaction. Perhaps this airline needs a better training program to help their employees problem-solve difficult situations better.

In any case, there is some excellent vocabulary in this article.

The article:

Vocabulary from the article: 

criminal charges - if the police want to arrest someone for murder, for example, they may say, "We are charging you with murder! You are under arrest!"  So to be charged with something means to be formally accused of something. A criminal charge is an accusation. The police are claiming that you did something wrong.

a probe - an investigation

to be launched - if something is launched, it is begun. e.g. We are going to launch a new website soon.

to stow something - to store something or to put something away.

animal cruelty - when a person unnecessarily harms an animal.

a task force - a group expected to solve or address a problem.

a prosecutor - a lawyer for the government who tries to find people who are accused of crimes to be guilty.

to be warranted - to be necessary, reasonable, justified

a backlash - when you experience a negative reaction to something you did

to contradict someone or something - to say something opposite of what another person said. A person can also contradict him/herself. "Yesterday you told me you would be busy next week and could not come over, but now you just mentioned you have the whole week free. You just contradicted yourself!"

to back up someone's account - to verify the story, to agree that the story is correct

to prompt s/o to do s/t - to cause someone to do something

inexcusable - wrong to the point where you can't make any legitimate excuses as to why it happened

cargo - stuff that is being carried in a plane or ship; so the politician is saying animals are not like products that are being transported from one destination to another.

a cargo hold - the place where cargo is stored while a plane is in flight

a bill - if a bill is passed by the Congress it becomes a law; to file a bill is to put a bill up for debate and a vote

alleged - supposed, apparent, possible

to be acclimated to - to be used to something, to have gotten used to something; so some animals just do not get used to their carriers or crates (boxes) and perhaps die of stress or heart attacks

to tout something - to boast about something, to speak proudly of something

to deem something to have occurred - to consider or determine that something occurred because of something else