Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
It seems they're still not quite uniting with their passengers.
Few people pulled out their violins for United Airlines after its staff got a paying passenger, Dr. David Dao, dragged off a plane, his face bloodied.
Now a professional violinist claims that a United supervisor tried to rip her violin from her hands, after she refused to check it (for a generous $50 fee), rather than carry it on the plane.
In a disturbing missive posted to her Facebook page, lawyer Phillip MacNaughton claims that Yennifer Correia was flying from Houston to St. Louis in order to join the Missouri Symphony Orchestra's summer season.
Correia allegedly asked what her options were, if she wasn't going to be allowed to carry her violin on.
"The United supervisor told Ms. Correia that there were 'no options,'" says MacNaughton, "and became belligerent when Ms. Correia asked for her name."
Don't you feel this is the very point when the matter might have escalated an octave?
What's my name? No! What's your name?
"Without provocation," says MacNaughton, the supervisor "lunged for Ms. Correia's case and, incredibly, tried to wrestle it away from the musician."
At this point, Correia apparently screamed for help. Musicians can be understandably touchy about their instruments. Especially when someone else tries to touch them. Correia says her violin is hundreds of years old and worth tens of thousands of dollars.
Naturally, Correia talked to her local TV station, KPRC-TV.
"She was rude from the beginning saying these are the rules. All you can take with you are some personal items on the plane. And the instrument is too big and it's not going to fit," said Correia.
It's generally accepted -- because it's federal law -- that musicians can carry their instruments onto planes in most circumstances.
Violins or guitars can be placed "in a suitable baggage compartment, such as the overhead bin or a closet, or under the seats, in accordance with FAA safety regulations and the carrier's FAA-approved carry-on baggage program."
From which rulebook might the United supervisor have been singing her aria? United didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
The airline did offer this boilerplate statement: "We're disappointed anytime a customer has an experience that does not live up to his or her expectation. We are reaching out to Ms. Correia to gain a better understanding of what occurred and to offer assistance."
Correia's description of the incident does suggest a bizarre level of customer service on offer.
"She proceeded to throw herself on top of my suitcase so she could take the rest of the sticker from my suitcase, so at this point we're both struggling, pulling the suitcase and I'm trying to get her not to take the sticker from me," Correia told KPRC.
The reason for wanting the sticker? So the supervisor could get her name, says Correia. Doesn't United have computers for that sort of thing?
Ultimately, Correia says that the supervisor simply walked away and she missed her flight.
Of course, we've only heard Correia's side, but she did say that she begged someone to film what was going on. Video can be so helpful in these matters.
MacNaughton's view is simple: "All they really had to do is say the overhead bins are full, or we can't accommodate and you'll have to take another airline, instead of attacking people," he told KPRC.
There's another movement to this. Correia now says she might have injured her hand in after the supervisor's "attack." This isn't good for a professional violinist.
Sadly, this isn't the only time United has been out of tune with a violin. Last year, it allegedly kicked a violinist off a flight even though, she said, she'd negotiated with fellow passengers -- in exchange for drinks -- to stow it safely under their seats.
It seems the core element in such stories -- which have naturally multiplied since the Dao incident -- is the enforcement of rules. Not just the wisdom of the rule itself, but the way in which staff members decide it should be applied.
For example, when a Delta passenger used a restroom just before takeoff and got kicked off a plane. Or when an American Airlines flight attendant battled a mom over a stroller and then challenged another passenger to a fight.
Ultimately, many airline staff feel under pressure, given the more exacting (but not necessarily better-paid) circumstances of their jobs these days.
Equally, many passengers feel that customer service went the way of the DC-10.
And so we fight. Because that's what humans do.