Shame, shame, shame on United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz and all the United Airlines employees who were involved in dragging 69-year-old Dr. David Dao off a flight leaving from Chicago on April 9. Your behavior has been reprehensible.
It has taken nearly two days for United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz to finally issue a “statement” on the United Airlines website, which includes an apology to “the customer” who was forcibly removed from a flight from Chicago to Louisville on April 9.
The “statement” only came after a day of public shaming, once other passengers on the flight posted videos of Dr. David Dao, 69, being forcibly pulled up and over the arm rest of his airplane seat and then dragged by his arms through the aisle, with blood dripping from his mouth, and his glasses pushed askew. The “statement” also only came after United Airlines released a lame non-apology yesterday, in which they merely expressed regrets for having to “re-accommodate these customers” and claimed they were “reaching out to ‘this passenger’ to talk directly to him.”
In other words, physically assaulting a passenger was called “re-accommodating” and they were now mystified as to what happened to the man that they had asked police to drag off the plane. However, even more damning for United was a second statement sent to its thousands of employees by CEO Munoz “emphatically” standing behind the employees involved and basically blaming Dr. Dao, whose only “crime” was being seated on a flight that was supposedly overbooked.
“One of the passengers we politely asked to deplane refused and it became necessary to contact Chicago Aviation security Officers to help,” Munoz wrote, before commending his employees for “continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right.” Huh? Above and beyond? How tone def could Oscar Munoz be? Did he not watch the videos of Dao crying out as he was being dragged like a piece of meat, while other shocked passengers gasped, “Oh my God, oh my God.”
No matter how politely Dr. Dao was asked to deplane, he had no obligation to — something which Munoz must have known.
Three attorneys consulted by HollywoodLife.com confirmed that United Airlines had “no right” to remove a passenger simply for overbooking once they were on board a flight. “Technically, the airline has the right to remove a passenger from the plane but only for the right reasons, such as the passenger’s violent behavior or other conduct that endangers the well-being of other passengers,” attorney Yiber Albert Dauti of The Dauti Law Firm told HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY.
And, for all of you wondering about Dr. Dao’s past, in which he had a felony drugs conviction — none of that is relevant to this United Airlines case.
I think the reason that Dr. Dao’s hurtful and humiliating experience has resonated so profoundly with millions of people, is that almost everyone has had a deeply unpleasant experience with an airline employee or an airline in general. I know I have.
How many times have you had a flight cancelled or delayed for hours for no apparent reason? How often have you been left in the lurch at the airport — often in a strange city — and been told by a brusk airline employee that you were on your own and needed to find a hotel for yourself or sleep in the airport after a cancellation? Or how about when you’ve been rudely ordered by an airline employee to check your carry-on bag because all the overhead space has been taken… even if you REALLY need things in that bag.
We’ve all been treated badly by airlines many times, so we ALL can relate to Dr. Dao. Just one wrong move and that could have been you or I, and it still could be.
Oscar Munoz’s arrogance in refusing to apologize immediately to Dr. Dao, who is now recovering in a Chicago hospital, just reinforces our worst fears that United Airlines and others think they can do “anything” to passengers at their mercy.
Dr. Dao told Kentucky news station WLKY that he was not doing well and that his injuries were “everything.” It’s about time that United Airlines CEO Munoz has finally apologized in his statement, though without the courtesy of naming Dr. Dao’s name, and has acknowledged that “no one should ever be mistreated this way.” You bet.
Do you agree, HollywoodLifers? Was this completely unacceptable behavior from United Airlines? Let me know.