On his way from New Orleans to Chicago via United Airlines, Scottish actor Graham McTavish from Outlander overheard something he couldn't believe: the crew on his flight were making jokes about a dog that died after a United employee forced passengers to put it in an overhead compartment.
Irate, he sounded off on Twitter about his experience:
Sorry, but my journey with @united today was rubbish. crew on the NOLA/ Chicago leg making jokes about dogs in the overhead, and then plain rude on the delayed Chicago/Vancouver flight “ If you want lunch you’d better get that table out”. Just makes a bad experience worse guys.— Graham McTavish (@grahammctavish) March 17, 2018
It's been a very bad year for United's public relations team. The company became synonymous with poor service in April 2017 when footage surfaced of a passenger being forcibly dragged off a plane after refusing to give up his seat. Other animals have died, too, including a giant rabbit and several dogs. For many people, forcing a family to put their 10-month-old dog in an overhead bin was the last straw.
McTavish's story infuriated Twitter users:
Sorry you had such a bad experience, but it’s good to know so others can choose a different airline.— Tess Hagan (@TessHagan) March 19, 2018
I sympathize. I’ve had bad experiences with them too. Try American next time if you can.— Kimberly (@ElvenBallerina) March 20, 2018
While others defended the flight attendants:
Someday listen in to the macabre humor in an operating room or by paramedics. This type of humor is used as a defense mechanism by ALL humans. Perhaps United employees are tired of being attacked for things outside of their control.— Mark Hoffman (@SLO_Pilot) March 19, 2018
Flight Attendants use humor to balance the tremendous stress of the job that is the only way they can get thru the day. So you owe all F/A's an apology for your misguided opinions.— Chad Beckwith Smith (@winners_auction) March 19, 2018
But most people seemed glad McTavish shared his experience:
Joking about dogs in the overhead bin by United crew members will not make this tragedy go away. Thank you for sharing so that this chronic callous attitude can get addressed.— Edna Karinski (@EKarinski) March 19, 2018
Thanks for taking a stand. Followed your career for a long time. Highlander, Red Dwarf, Dante's Inferno, Uncharted, The Hobbit, *Mallory in The Order 1886* Preacher. Four rescue dogs let me live with them. They matter. BTW, Epic beard.— Hatchetforce (@Hatchetforce) March 19, 2018
If enough customers lash out at United, perhaps the airline will change their ways?
Wish I could say what you heard is a surprise to me.— Brad Cavendish (@brad_cavendish) March 19, 2018
So sorry about your flight, Mr. McTavish. It also seems the second leg of your journey didn't go much better. Perhaps next time you'll take a different airline? Make sure to let United know why.
So sorry. The dog in the overhead is no joking matter. A family, with young children, lost a beloved pet. It must have been miserable.— Glenda Ehrle (@GEhrle) March 18, 2018