On Apr. 9, 2017, on a flight bound for Louisville from Chicago, a controversial incident occurred that has quickly resulted in nearly everyone in the country responding to it in some way.
United Airlines Flight 3411 was overbooked, and the airline needed four seats to be freed up in order to move airline staff to Louisville in order for them to make a flight out of the city the next day. However, when it was found that every seat was taken an airline manager boarded the flight and asked for volunteers to take a later flight in exchange for a $400 voucher and a hotel stay for the next day, according to the BBC. When no one took this offer, the offer was increased to an $800 dollar voucher, and once again no one took the offer. The manager then decided to select four passengers to leave.
The manager selected David Dao, an elderly doctor. Dao claimed that he could not leave as he had patients the next day that he had to see. With Dao’s refusal to leave, United Airlines called security guards from the Chicago Department of Aviation. Once the guards attempted to remove Dao, Dao ended up with injuries to his face and mouth, and a bloody face. According to Time and the official police report Dao’s face was hit on the armrest, and video shows Dao being dragged out of the plane.
The video of the entire scuffle went viral, calling national attention to United Airlines and their poor handling of the entire situation as well as the security guards actions. United Airlines C.E.O. Oscar Munez tweeted “I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers,” which led to even more criticism. However, in an e-mail sent to employees obtained by CNBC, Munez praised the actions against the “disruptive and belligerent” passenger.
Following the event, according to Time, the security guard, who assaulted and dragged Dao has been placed on administrative leave and the Chicago Department of Aviation stated that the event was not in accordance with their procedures. The United States Department of Transportation has also announced an investigation into the incident. According to Gizmodo, United Airlines stock also dropped nearly 4%, almost $800 million dollars. Many people have spoken out after the incident, such as members of congress, YouTube personalities, like Phillip Defranco, and many prominent Twitter users. Many people on social media have called for a protest against United Airlines, as well as a petition for the resignation of Oscar Munez on Change.org with almost 40,000 signatures.
It is yet to be seen if Dao will be bringing up charges or a civil suit against United Airlines, and the story is sure to evolve in coming months.