The Consumerist has an interesting story this week reporting that United Airlines allegedly over-sold a flight and then dumped passengers based on how much (or little) they paid for their tickets.
The site quotes a passenger as saying that United staff was open about the selection criteria in bumping 20 or so passengers from a flight from Burlington to Washington, D.C. that was too heavy to fly.
Bruce Poon Tip tweeted that staff told them that discount passengers would be thrown over the side first. To their credit, there is no report of actually requiring passengers to line up from most valuable to least valuable like the Roman games.
United has not responded to the reports. I am not sure how flight personnel would know how much each passenger paid for a ticket. Perhaps someone can explain how this is even possible. The Consumerist is reporting that passengers were told that this is how the selection was made. If true, this would appear a clear contractual violation since United does not inform passengers that they are subject to being dumped on the basis for securing cheaper tickets.