Everyone Is Wrong About Dr. Dao and United Airlines

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The story of United Airlines and Dr. Dao is primarily a case of media deciding that we must care about this story and that we must side with Dr. Dao. It’s really a case of everyone acting badly – everyone.

To the people who call it signs of a police state, not at all. We might be heading for a police state but this isn’t proof. United is a private airline and the so-called police were aviation security, not local police, who followed protocol.

What we don’t see in the admittedly unpleasant videos is what happened before. The airline said the doctor was “unruly and belligerent”. What did he do to make them concerned? We don’t know.

As soon as security approached him and told him to leave his seat, the doctor acted like a five-year old and screamed for dear life. He apparently hit his lip on an arm rest and was not beaten. He was dragged and that appears to be excessive force.

Somehow, he then got back on the plane, running to the back screaming like a Rottweiler with a bomb strapped to his back that he had to “get back home” and “kill me now”.

Flying on someone else’s plane is a privilege though we do pay for it. It’s not an unqualified right and those guidelines are spelled out in the small print. The doctor should have accepted the authority of the crew and gotten off the plane.

Most of us would be unhappy but we’d boycott them or write a nasty letter. Dr. Dao should have taken the $800 dollars and a train home.

Having worked for the airlines, I can tell you they don’t bump passengers unless they have to. The crew weren’t going sunning at the beach. They were needed to take over for other crew so hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other passengers could make their flights. You would not only have many more disgruntled passengers, you would be fined a lot of money. People like Chuck Schumer would be out condemning you and there would be more regulations put on the airline. As it is, the airline only makes a profit on about ten passengers.

And, no the plane wasn’t overbooked and, yes they try their hardest to not bump passengers.

Should the airline have exercised better judgement? Perhaps they were allowed to offer more money or send the crew home by bus but not likely.

What if they then bumped someone else in his stead? Wouldn’t that person have been upset? I didn’t see anyone volunteering to take his place. All we see are morally righteous people on tape condemning the airline crew.

What if they arranged transport for the doctor? Maybe they weren’t allowed to offer that.

The airline called security for a reason. By the time security came to remove him, he had already raised alarm among the crew.

Personally, I wouldn’t want to see airlines dragging people off unless they had a shoe bomb and they should look at their guidelines to see how they can offer a more measured response next time.

However, Dr. Dao getting his way reduces the authority of the airline responsible for our safety. Without that, we have anarchy.

But, frankly, people who got all huffy should reconsider responding to the biased media next time. We still don’t have all the information.

While Dr. Dao’s history trading pills for sex isn’t relevant, his reaction might be tied to emotional or drug issues based on that very history.

Security might have used better judgment. However, the rules are zero tolerance because we live in a world of terrorists and bombings and Dr. Dao sure didn’t act normally.

Shame on all of us. We fell for it. The twitter comments insulting United were funny for a while but it’s not funny any longer. It was fake news.

 

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38 COMMENTS

  1. I read where federal regulations issued by the Dept of Transportation have maximum limits on what airlines can offer to passengers in these circumstances. Why does the federal government care how much an airline pays to get volunteers.? Also, I understand that the airlines typically only offer vouchers for future travel. My understanding is that they have to offer the option to get that in cash. I don’t believe United did that. Lots of blame to go around here, the federal Dept of Transportation, the airline, and of course obviously this passenger.

  2. There is an enormous amount of regulations on aviation. It is very hard for start-ups to enter, so little competition. And as the author alluded to, many regulations on what compensation can be offered. That is why we have a police state, the government controls every aspect of everything.

  3. An all of this, of course, makes it okay for professional thugs to be called to drag a paying customer off your property, bleeding.

  4. This article says: “The airline said the doctor was “unruly and belligerent”. What did he do to make them concerned? We don’t know.”
    That is incorrect: google the following: passenger moments before dragged
    You will see video of a calm man. CNN reports it plainly contradicts the “unruly and belligerent” excuse.

  5. I agree with the author of this article. As a commercial pilot, no matter a person’s intent, when they become unwilling to follow crew demands it sets a precedent and could potentially jeapordize the safety of the flight. Also, where are the other passengers, self riteous in their own ways, not volunteering to give up their seat as this unfolded.

    Another interesting aspect is the Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, who on Fox and Friends essentially demonized United Airlines. Yes, United has it’s flaws but to cast a shadow on a company that employs thousands of New Jersey residents and contributes to the economy seems ill fated.

    Finally, many must understand the legal obligations many pilot contracts, along with their unions, present to an airline. Strict guidelines are mandated in each contract and simply getting the crew to the destination by car or another airline isn’t always as straight forward as it seems. Many times the financial implications are much more than this specific case.

    Nonetheless there are many lessons to be learned from this. Learning the industry and understanding our post 9/11 zero policy helps shed light on why these events transpired.

  6. Hopefully the “Dr” will be arrested and charged with interfering with a flight crew and assaulting security and police officials.

    • I suggest you view the video again.
      Three young airport police officers slamming, yanking, and dragging a senior citizen?
      The fellow was 69 years old and on his way home on the last flight of the day.
      The standby crew showed up late. United should have made other arrangements for them.

    • Yes I am so glad to finally hear someone say this.
      I am a private pilot and I know to you ATP’s you think that means yahoo. But I fly completely professional
      Anyone who for any reason doesn’t comply with my instructions is being disruptive and interfering with the crew is breaking the law and must be removed from the craft. No exceptions
      By going limp he also broke Illinois law which prohibits resisting police by going limp.
      To hell with this guy United followed all protocols the police did what was necessary.
      However had I been captain I would have ordered complete deboarding before any attempt to remove the passenger by force.
      Then I would insist on charges filed against him.

  7. Just wondering if the author feels like as much as an ass-hat as he should now that the video taken before this guy was worked over shows very clearly that he was calm and extremely coherent right up until the time they started beating him.

    • Just because you have a different opinion, doesn’t make me wrong. The doctor appears to be hurt and deserves compensation but he should have done what he was told by the authorities.

      • Why should he? He was legally in his right to demand the proof for “randomly” picking him. When he asked for the paper, they called security. The same security that was not legally supposed to have been on the plane. Legally, the doctor was right not United.

  8. Sorry, but being accommodated on a 3PM flight the next day is not an acceptable alternative. That’s a whole day lost.

    They could have offered:

    A limo ride to Louisville – it’s only five and half hours. Plus compensation

    First flight out on another airline, plus a hotel and compensation.

    Chartered a plane for the bumpees or the crew. Even a turboprop might do, given the distance. Even an early AM flight might have worked.

    Being denied boarding is one thing; once I’m seated my only expectation is specific performance.

  9. I knew something wasnt right about this. Actually a few things..we all have to be very shrewd these days. Fake news and scams are everywhere! I just recieved a phone call from a man claiming to be from the IRS..with a number on my caller I.d. that matched. Its like its an attempt to have us doubt everything, especially the truth.

  10. I’ve read many articles on this incident and this one is BY FAR the biggest load of garbage of them all! The arguments are all so indefensible. Using the defense that United operate in a competitive industry is NO excuse for this kind of treatment of a paying customer – who are the people that keep United in business. To use the defense that it is correct for United treat customers this way because they are unable to successfully organize their own logistical issues in an efficient and profitable manner is such a joke.
    This article should help shed a little more light on the issues at hand:
    https://boingboing.net/2017/04/12/concussed-and-blamed.html

    • It wasn’t supposed to be a defense of United. They all behaved badly. Not having been there, I don’t know who was worse. The doctor was hurt and I’m sorry about that.

  11. First, get your facts right. As pointed out by others, the videos shows that he was as calm as he can be. And United only went up to $800 in VOUCHER, not $1000 or cash.

    It’s also very ignorant of you to say that he should just take the money and just take a train. Why should the doctor have to inconvenience himself over a voucher, which by the way is almost impossible to redeem. He has the right to remain in his seat, because frankly none of us would know what our rights are in a situation like this. He didn’t receive any proof of statement or documentation that states this so call policy. The policy states the can deny passengers from boarding, but the passengers were boarded already! United had no idea what they should be doing in a situation beyond no volunteers.
    The crew should have made every get off the plane and re-board after they have done their “random” selection. This could have avoided a drag and drop.

    I’m a Chicago resident and I have stopped flying UA long ago, because their UA employees in Chicago specifically had been extremely rude and acted like they didn’t want the job. Do us a favor and GTFO and let someone else who appreciates a job take over.

  12. And this comment: “The airline called security for a reason. By the time security came to remove him, he had already raised alarm among the crew.”

    I was once threatened to be thrown off the plane, because I said “jesus Christ” to them asking me to put my phone away. Yeah sure I should have done it without being asked, but really? The words JESUS CHRIST was alarming to them.

  13. We live in a world full of wuses and cry babies. Big deal this Dr should of followed the rules . It is wheat it is.. very simple. He deserved what he got for being a pain in the A**

    • The facts are fine. You just don’t like the opinion. Dr. Dao will receive a settlement for his injuries and he should but everyone is wrong in this case, including readers who jumped on the attack United train.

  14. S Noble your comments are wonderful
    And intelligent: can’t say the same for your detractors
    In the unedited video dr dao clearly gives verbal permission to security to drag him: gone after editing

    • Except they were not legally allowed to be on the plane. Therefore, they pretty much assaulted someone without any legal authority.

      If you were in a hotel room and someone knocked on the door claiming to be hotel security and need you to leave the room, would you leave?

  15. Sadly you grossly underestimate the LAZINESS and CONFORMITY of the media.
    Has anyone even gone through every recorded video to see if Dr. Dao’s supposed unconsciousness was in fact a HUGE FRAUD? If he was faking it would be easy to escape the grasp of the police and deliberately injure himself by running into the door opening – instant broken nose, teeth and a concussion.
    United/Republic got had.
    Unfortunately with other videos of cops treating citizens badly now no one is giving them the benefit of the doubt.

  16. Hey Noble, would you be willing to leave on Dr Dao’s behalf?

    Would you take that beating?
    You can write ALL shit you think that he is wrong..
    Imagine You’re at he’s shoes..

    Would you wanna get Dragged out of the plane? Douchebag

    • I probably would. I’ve done it before ye who sits behind a computer and types anonymously. And no, I wouldn’t want to be dragged. I think security might have found a better way. As the article points out. They are all wrong. Dr. Dao should have done what the officer said to do but instead he insisted he be dragged off while on the phone with his lawyer telling him to prepare a lawsuit.

      • He felt he was being discriminated against. I would not leave if I felt I was being discriminated either. He had every right to call his lawyer.

        Getting off the plane because someone has a power trip is just as bad as accepting a beating from a bully. Did you get beat up in school and just took it because of course, you accepted it because it was from a person of authority?

  17. When the passengers did not accept money to get off the plane it was indication that their commitments and plans exceeded that value.
    The airline that assigned seats to, and boarded the passengers needed to then make other plans to cover their lack of planning, not place it violently on the customer.
    Yes Violently. When they touched him they assaulted him.

    Airlines know they have employees to get from one place to another. They know that from time to time they need a seat. Yet they sell that seat; they overbook to guarantee themselves the maximum profit, placing any inconvenience on the customer and they will go to any dehumanizing length to insure that profit.

    So lets say you have a new apartment. Monday morning you wake to make your first day at your new job. But standing at your front door is your landlord who says you have to move out TODAY. Seems they made a mistake and overbooked the complex and a new employee is moving into your apartment.

    They offer you money to leave but you explain that you have to go to your new job or you will loose it and you shut your door.
    So the leasing company calls the police. They enter the apartment and throw you and your belonging into the street.

    There are laws against this, not just because of the inconvenience but because of morality. You enter into an agreement as the airline did with the passenger and you follow through with that agreement because plans are made based on that agreement. The airline did not follow through with their agreement.

    This is not about some man’s childish fit or rules made by one party. This is about morality, humanity and lack of planning over human rights.

    • They shouldn’t have dragged him off the plane violently but he should have gotten off the plane when the security officer told him to. Everyone was wrong.

  18. S. Noble,
    There is seriously something wrong with you.
    There are some things that are more important then others. Human dignity and respect.
    Don’t you know that?

  19. I enjoy fact based articles that explain the two sides to what happened, however this is an opinion piece with lots of questions and no sources to backup anything put forward. You literally taught me nothing new and just gave me your side to something you were not there to witness.

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