But Bill, isn't that the way of most airlines these days?
UA is not a convenient airline for us so I have no firsthand experience with them, but there are horror stories with almost all the carriers these days.
There was a time when we travelled almost exclusively on AA, though never with the kind of status you have since our travel is purely recreational, but they used to turn themselves inside out to make you happy and in turn, we gave them our loyalty. Not so much since the most recent changes.
JB, loved by so many when it first appeared on the scene, has never received kudos from us though I held out hope at first but our experiences, while not horror stories, have certainly left considerable room for huge improvements.
I have said before and will say again, they're all reasonably decent UNTIL YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THEM, and the problems do occur with almost all carriers sooner or later..
All that said, the UA situation really was terrible even admitting the effected passenger was not without blame here. But in the end, as so often is the case, it's not the crime (or situation in this case) but it's ALL about how they handle it. And this case, UA cut their own throats in the manner in which this has all played out so far. And I suspect it's going to get a lot worse for them before it gets better.
"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat