Travellers walk through the United Airlines terminal at O'Hare International Airport this month in Chicago. It remains to be seen how United’s tarnished image will translate into financial losses. Yet, it is crystal clear that blindly following established business procedures can have dire consequences. Photo: AFP

A lesson for United Airlines over passenger removal: rules must allow for common sense

Albert Cheng says employees who deal with the public must be given discretion to deviate from protocol when it is safe to do so, and the airline isn’t the only organisation that needs to do better in this regard

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Travellers walk through the United Airlines terminal at O'Hare International Airport this month in Chicago. It remains to be seen how United’s tarnished image will translate into financial losses. Yet, it is crystal clear that blindly following established business procedures can have dire consequences. Photo: AFP
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