Brutality in the Sky


Envision paying a certain amount of money to fly with your favorite airline, then finding out that the flight you were guaranteed was overbooked. Imagine that you needed this flight to get to work in your hometown the next morning. You know that you cannot miss this flight, yet the employees demand that you are removed due to the overbooking. This is what has happened to Dr. David Dao, a 69 year old doctor, on April 9.  After the overbooking on his flight, he was forcefully removed by security guard regardless of how little threat he posed against them.


In the O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on that April day, Flight 3411 was marked overbooked. Three out of four paying customers left without incident. The last customer to be bumped from the flight was a doctor who needed to catch the flight to see a patient in Louisville, KY.  The flight attendants called three officers from the Chicago Department of Aviation to escort the doctor off of the plane. Unfortunately, these security guards used too much force when doing so. Dao’s mistreatment resulted in a concussion, a broken nose, and the loss of his two front teeth. He was dragged off the flight like a ragdoll with a bloody face. There was no way that a 69 year old man could stand a chance to defend himself against three trained officers, therefore the excessive force the officers used was obviously unnecessary.


Besides the inordinate conduct of the officers who manhandled Dao, United Airlines should have listened to Dao in the first place. Dao never clarified what condition the patient he was seeing was in. His patient could have been in critical condition when the doctor was denied the seat he paid for. Denying a doctor from seeing a sick patient could have placed that patient’s life in jeopardy. What is more important- four United flight attendants going to Louisville for another flight or a doctor going to Louisville to see a sick patient? The airlines could have simply used a computer or randomly selected another customer instead of insisting on removing this specific elderly doctor from his flight.


Furthermore, a business thrives on the customers regardless of what type of business it is. United Airlines, the world’s third-largest airline in revenue, should know this very well. Paying customers should be treated with the highest priority regardless of which class ticket they have purchased. Obviously, customers are not as likely to return to an airline that does not appreciate the business it gets. Rather than sending four flight attendants that are paid to make a flight that was understaffed, the airlines could have been more responsible for scheduling and making sure the flights they schedule have attendants scheduled accordingly instead. Therefore, the airport not only physically harmed a paying customer, but also inconvenienced the customers paying by staffing their planes poorly.


A company of that stature, that has been around since 1926, should know better. The employees of a company embody that company. This event will represent the care and treatments customers will get if they fly there. Though United has been around for a long time, if they continue to treat their customers in these disrespectful ways, their business will come to an end.

Written by Elizabeth Cole