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Elite Dangerous patch notes accidentally references horrific United Airlines incident

"Fixed some instances of passengers refusing to leave their cabins."

There are bug fixes, and then there are bug fixes that seemingly reference real life.

Yesterday space game Elite Dangerous received a significant update to coincide with the launch of the latest part of the Horizons series of expansions, and buried within the patch notes was the following nugget:

  • Fixed some instances of passengers refusing to leave their cabins

Now, unless you've been living under a rock this week, you'll read this and think, amazing! That's a United Airlines reference right there.

This week North American airline United suffered one of the biggest PR disasters of the year when footage emerged of a 69-year-old man being pulled out of his seat and dragged, screaming, down the aisle. He was later seen with blood on his face.

It turned out the passenger was randomly selected by a computer to be kicked off the flight from Chicago to Louisville because United wanted to get four passengers to leave to make room for staff. The company was roundly criticised as public outrage at the horrific incident grew. United's initial PR statement made matters worse, and now the boss of the company has apologised, promising to "fix what's broken so it never happens again".

Back to Elite Dangerous, and the wonderfully-timed patch note letting players know the development team has fixed "some instances of passengers refusing to leave their cabins".

Frontier tells me the patch note is not a United Airlines zing, which saddens me a bit, but a coincidence. This was an actual bug in the game, and it's now been fixed, so it stands to reason it would pop up in the patch notes.

Still, what a delicious coincidence! Surely this has to go down as one of the best video game patch notes of all time - and it looks like the Elite Dangerous community has seen the funny side, dubbing the patch the "United Update" and noting how notoriously tricky it is to dock a spaceship in the game.