June 13, 2024

“I have to go home; they’ll kill me!” exclaimed David Dao after he was dragged by the wrists, screaming, across the aisle on United Airlines Flight 3411 on Sunday night, his face bloodied and glasses falling.
In a video that went viral on social media, Dao, a 69-year-old doctor from Kentucky, was selected at random to de-board the flight after four United employees were said to be in need of seats, after no passenger voluntarily gave theirs up. Needing to be with a patient the following day, Dao was adamant about getting home. Security was brought forth to forcefully remove him from the flight.
People can be heard voicing their concern and distress in the video, with many screaming, “Oh my God,” and one woman yelling, “Look what you did to him!”
Dao later went to a hospital, where he was treated for numerous injuries, including a concussion, a busted lip and a broken nose.
Across numerous outlets, especially prevalent on social media, United Airlines was condemned for its handling of the incident. Oscar Munoz, CEO of United Airlines, issued an apology for “having to re-accommodate these customers.”
In the apology, he also stated United’s intention to reach out to Dao and review what happened.
“I feel like I should be surprised that it happened, but I’m not,” Haley Hyde, ’20, said.
Ethan Hughes, ‘20, also commented on the incident.
“I agree, but it was something that should’ve been handled in a much better way. Other people should’ve spoke up. It was a huge case of the bystander effect,” Hughes said.
While there were certainly many people outraged by the incident, it does raise some questions: Was United permitted to act in the manner that it did? Could something have been done to prevent the situation from escalating to such an intensity?
Dao was selected to de-board, but he did not, leading security to aggressively remove him from his seat, injuring and dragging him. Still, if there had not been an overbooking of the flight in the first place, no situation regarding the bumping off of passengers would have existed.
In any case, the fact remains that a man was severely injured, and the controversy is far from forgotten. This is a current PR issue for United Airlines that is still being addressed, and it has already led some notable figures, such as Zendaya, Joss Whedon and Chrissy Teigen to voice their displeasure and disgust with what happened, along with many others across the globe.

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