An amateur footage shows United Airlines employees violently dragging a man from his seat and forcibly removing him from an overbooked flight on Sunday. The company wanted to remove four passengers from the airplane at O’Hare airport in Chicago.
Jayse D Anspachposted the video and tweeted that the airlines overbooked and wanted four of its passengers to volunteer to give up their seats for United Airlines staff who needed to work the next day. He added that when no one volunteered, the airlines chose random people. When they chose an Asian doctor, David Dao, and his wife, he refused to leave the plane, claming that he had to go to the hospital the next day for work. Violence followed. A video shows Dao, with blood on his face, running back up the aisle after a few minutes saying he needed to go home.
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz initially responded saying that he was upset about what happened but backed his staff and called Dao “disruptive” and “belligerent”. He later said he feels “shame and embarrassment” and called the shocking passenger treatment “truly horrific” in his second apology.
On Tuesday, almost $1bn was erased from United Airlines’ value. The CEO said he was going to try his best to fix the problem and that it will never happen again. He also vowed to consider and make changes where necessary in the company’s policies about passengers giving up their seats and handling overbooked flights.
Following Dao’s legal action against the airlines, three employees involved in the disturbing passenger treatment were put on leave until further notice.
Meanwhile, the footage has caused outrage all over the world, especially in China. The Vietnamese want a boycott of United Airlines and the media in China call the unfortunate incident discrimination and hypocrisy over human rights. It goes without saying that it is totally unacceptable to treat another human being that way. An issue that could have been solved by common sense was turned into a violent episode upsetting millions of people.