The National-Security Diaper Scramble

“Mr. Shishkin?” one of the cops asked me after we landed. “Please follow us. We’ll help you with your bags.” Smiles all around. This was San Francisco, not Moscow. Cops carried bad guys’ luggage here. And with that, my son, daughter, wife and I were escorted off the plane. By the gate, the police and I chatted amicably, the homeland-security guy listening in but not saying much. They were clearly as puzzled by this as I was. I don’t know what the flight attendant and the captain had told them, but they seemed relieved I wasn’t some crazy guy with a fuse in his underwear. They apologized and let us go.  That evening, I emailed United to complain. Nearly three weeks later, I received a stock e-mailed apology, prefaced by a quick summary of the United Airlines world view. “We believe all customers and co-workers are to be treated with dignity and respect,” the message began. “This philosophy is deeply woven into everything we do.” I told United I found the note insufficient. In the four months since then, United hasn’t bothered to write back. They did find time, though, to launch a spiteful legal battle to take down Untied.com, a clearly marked spoof website poking fun at United customer service.