Thinking of flying the friendly skies?

(Updated April 13, 2017)

If by some remote chance you missed the story today, passengers now risk being physically dragged off United Airlines planes to make room for their own employees:

There’s another video and the complete story on CNN.

I’m outraged at the way this man was treated. Had he been disruptive in some way or threatening others, I could understand it, but to treat him this way simply because he wouldn’t give up his seat is shocking. I hope he sues the airline and gets a huge settlement.

And just for the record, I plan never to fly United again.

Notes from press conference, Thursday, April 13: Dr. David Dao, a 69-year-old physician, is Vietnamese. His injuries included a significant concussion, a broken nose, damage to his sinuses, and two lost teeth. He was released from the hospital late last night but will need reconstructive surgery. Dr. Dao told his attorney that his mistreatment was more horrifying than when he fled Vietnam in 1975. The attorney, Thomas Demetrio, was conducting the press conference and likely will be filing a lawsuit. He said Dr. Dao had absolutely no memory of running back onto the plane after he was initally removed.

Additional video:



Categories: Society, video content

27 replies

  1. Wow. I’m leaving on vacation on Friday. Flying American. What they did is completely unacceptable. When I’ve been on an overbooked flight, the airlines would offer free tickets to x-number of people if they would give up their seat(s) and take a later flight. Why didn’t United do that? There are always people who will take a later flight if it means a free ticket.

    • Three people did voluntarily get off when United offered $800 (up from the original $400). To get a fourth volunteer, they should have just offered more. The next United flight wasn’t until the next afternoon, which wasn’t acceptable to a lot of people.

  2. I am afraid that all airlines in the world now will claim that they can vacant any seats they want just for the reason to accommodate someone else.I will freak out and will voice out my dissatisfaction if my seat is taken (after I pay for it!)..that’s normal for consumers. It’s United fault in the first place, it’s overbooked, and that said, was that passengers fault? Shame on you United, taking others seat, they paid for it already…a BIG NO NO for me this brand in the future…Now, if this man was flying FOR FREE then United has the right to choose him and put him on another flight..but was that the real case? Tell me…

    • Apparently prepaid reservations mean nothing to the airlines. And the fine print says they can bump anyone at anytime. That should not be allowed. Passengers book specific flights at specific times for a variety of reasons that are just as important to them as the airline’s reasons for bumping them. A paid reservation should mean “this seat is mine,” period.

      • Well said, did you read Gary’s article (boarding area.com)..oh my he indicates that UA has the right to do so

        • Not sure which article you are referring to but yes, as the law stands now, the airlines have the right to take your seat. Passengers/customers deserve more protection than this. Paying for and reserving a seat should guarantee something better than this poor man received. In a perfect world, airline passengers would only pay after receiving satisfactory service, as is the case with so many other businesses.

  3. @Michelle. When we were on spring break a few weeks ago, American took my husband’s seat (and several others) after no one stepped up to take the vouchers. We had chosen our seats when we bought the tickets months before, we had checked in the day before, and we arrived (for our 5:45 a.m. flight) over an hour early. So it’s not just United. To make things worse, my husband and the others were not compensated. We have filed claims with the DOT. So, it doesn’t matter if you’re on vacation or flying with your family – the airline doesn’t care. My husband then had to take three connecting flights to get home – 12 hours later. We vote with our dollars, but it’s awfully hard not to fly on some of these big airlines, especially if you have to travel for work or if where you want to go is only serviced by the bigger airlines.

    • He wasn’t compensated? After all that? That’s ridiculous. At least United said their “random” system of selecting who to kick off excluded couples and minors. Apparently a prepaid “reservation” is a reservation in name only. The airlines shouldn’t be allowed to double book. A no-show will still have paid for the seat, so it’s not like they lose any money.

  4. I did read no one took the vouchers on United as well and they picked this guy at random. It’s a totally absurd way to do business and treat paying customers. United was also the airline with the leggings thing. They are all alike. If they do have to reduce the number on board, it should be by booking date not random. The later you book, the higher the possibility, but there should be a monetary compensation for sure.

    • Agreed, Mary. It is absurd the way they treat customers – and they seem to be getting worse. Passengers have little or no rights, supposedly in the name of safety, but in reality it in the name of the dollar. Airlines should not be able to sell two seats to the same person. That’s crazy. No other industry can do that.

    • Either by booking date or by who had the cheapest tickets. But random is a terrible system. They’ve no way of knowing how critical that flight might be to someone.

      And the compensation should be cash (my son read somewhere that legally you can demand cash/check instead of vouchers), not vouchers or tickets for a future flight on that particular airline. A disgruntled passenger might not want to fly that particular airline again.

  5. My first reaction to this was like yours, PT, but now I’m not so sure. Clearly, it was a messy scene and very bad publicity for UA. However, the passenger was legally in the wrong. Also, he was strangely distraught, babbling as it were. The other 3 bumped passengers didn’t act out (nor did DM’s husband above).

    I found out that UA could have gone higher than the $800 offered, up to $1,350 which seems to be some kind of cap. This could actually get worse under the Trump administration. They could do away completely with any compensation at all as just another troublesome regulation that hinders the airline business from maximizing their profits.

    • In the videos I saw, the passenger did not appear distraught and babbling until after he ran back onto the plane. At that point I assumed he was probably in shock or something from the head trauma. Shortly after that he ran back to the front of the plane, where he collapsed and had to be carried off on a stretcher. I wondered if perhaps he didn’t speak very good English and there had been a communication problem at the outset.

      Certainly UA should have offered the maximum before forcing or dragging someone off the plane. What really outraged me was that it was all done to make room for four United crew members. Surely UA could have made other arrangements for their transport, rather than force paying customers out of their seats.

  6. ‘People are saying’ (and you know how dependable that phrase is!) that the man was a doctor who had to be in his hospital the next morning—for some reason, he couldn’t get his message across-a language difficulty, probably. So sad, and so disgusting that a passenger would be treated this way!

    • Yes, that’s what all the reports say … that he said he was a doctor who had to see patients the next morning. I do think there may have been a language problem, but plenty of people understood that he said that. Apparently it didn’t matter to the airline or to the police they called in. I can understand the man’s terror if he didn’t understand why he was being treated that way, especially if he was relatively new to the country (Chinese, according to one report).

  7. The Louisville Courier-Journal reports today that the man dragged from the plane was 69-year-old David Dao, a doctor from Elizabethtown, KY. He attended medical school in Vietnam.

  8. I flew from Sydney to San Francisco with United in 2005; when I stepped off the plane I vowed never to fly with them again; and I haven’t!

    The cabin crew were the rudest, most arrogant, that it has ever been my misfortune to come across.

    Reminiscent of :The Ugly Americans” of the 1950’s and 1960’s when overseas air-travel brought them to our shores!

    I was damned glad that when flying out from NY, we went with Lufthansa, now that was really worth the money!

  9. As one who flew weekly for business, I stopped flying United years ago. For good reason. Now there’s another one. Glad it’s all out in the open.
    Same attitudes they had when they took over Continental. United’s arrogance destroyed that perfectly good airline option.
    Treat your employees badly and you get poor employees. Treat your paying customers worse and you deserve what you get.

  10. Another interesting blog on this incident and aviation/flying commercial air carriers is the JetHead blog by Chris Manno. He is a commercial pilot and talented cartoonist as well as a published author of several novels. (I really enjoy driving) 😄

"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend." ~ Thomas Jefferson

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: