United Airlines sees consumer backlash after video goes viral

April 21, 2017 11:09 am

A new viral video shows three security officers dragging a man out of his seat on a United Airlines flight and forcibly yanking him down the aisle by his wrists.

The plane was scheduled to fly from Chicago to Louisville, Ky. on April 9 at O’Hare International Airport. Videos of the altercation sparked national outraged against United Airlines. 

The passenger, Dr. David Dao, suffered a broken nose, a concussion and two missing front teeth, according to USA Today. 

The three airport security officers have been put on administrative leave as the city reviews the incident. 

The incident occurred because the flight was fully booked but United needed seats to transport employees who had to be in Louisville the next day, according to media reports. 

The airline offered $800 and a hotel stay. Four people were asked to volunteer to give up their seat. When no one volunteered, four passengers were picked at random. One of those four was Dao. He refused to leave. 

“I think that being a doctor and having patients, they should’ve chosen someone else so I don’t think it was right,” Delta student Teagan Graybill said. “I think that one of the other passengers should’ve volunteered and been like ‘hey this guy has patients,’” 

According to CNBC, Dao’s attorney, Tom Demetrio blamed a “culture of disrespect and rudeness” at United and said that there will likely be a lawsuit as a result of the incident. 

“I think corporate America needs to understand that we all want to be treated in the same manner with the respect and the same dignity that they would treat their own family members,” Demetrio said during a press conference in Chicago on April 13 according to CNBC. 

Delta student Reymon Javinal also disagrees with what United has done. “It doesn’t matter to who or what the person did. Everyone has a right to refuse to be left alone on a plane, he didn’t have to be dragged like that especially,” he said. “It was horrible.” 

Following the press conference, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz issued an apology statement: “This horrible situation has provided a harsh learning experience from which we will take immediate, concrete action … We have committed to our customers and our employees that we are going to fix what’s broken so this never happens again.” 

The company also said they will no longer ask law enforcement officers to remove passengers from their flights unless it is a matter of safety and security.

Demetrio told The Chicago Tribune  the airline didn’t have the right to use unnecessary force and violence to remove a passenger who is not a threat. 

On April 13, Munoz spoke about the incident and said security assets would no longer pull United Airlines passengers from overbooked flights according to ABC News. 

“We are not going to put a law enforcement official to take them off the aircraft. To remove a booked, paid seated passenger we can’t do that,” he told Good Morning America. 

But in the meantime, social media outrage of the altercation cause thousands to demand answers and seek justice for Dao.