To be fair, there are already lot of laws on the books that legislate common sense. Don't talk on a cellphone while driving. Don't pass a schoolbus while it's unloading kids. Don't litter. Don't dump raw sewage into the river. Don't overbook flights and then kick people off the plane (and rough them up in the process) wouldn't really stand out.
True. But none of those laws have anything to do with regulating independent businesses in terms of choosing to refuse service to customers or overselling their product. I'm just not a fan of making laws for things which should be left to the free market to sort out.
Yeah, the low fares have it, no matter what else. An airline could have customers run the gauntlet before boarding, but if its fares were $20 cheaper than its competitors, I'm fairly certain they'd have willing customers.
And those customers had better learn to keep their fucking yaps shut when that airline decides to treat them like crap instead of trying to make poor treatment illegal.
Make an appointment at a dentist then go there and find out they don't have time to fit you in and they have to reschedule. If the dentist does that too often, that dentist will soon find lots of room in the schedule as patients decide they won't put up with it and find other solutions. So do we need a law that prevents dentists from overbooking their schedule? Nope the market takes care of that on its own.
Take your car in for a scheduled service appointment only to be turned away because they won't have time that day and they'll have to reschedule. If your service shop does that to you more than once, you'll be looking for a new service shop. Why should the airlines be any different? United is perfectly within their rights to do what they did. And you are perfectly within your rights to never patronize them because of it. No laws required.
There are other airlines. There are other modes of transportation. There are other things you can with your free time besides travelling. Yep, some of us have to travel for business. But the airline industry would wither and die quickly if their only passengers were traveling on business. The market has the power to fix this problem. If they choose not to that's fine. But if they choose not to, then they need to pull up their big girl panties and quit bitchin' about it.