Did you know that once a flight is overbooked and there are too many passengers who showed up, airlines have the right to “re-accommodate” the extra passengers? Of course, normally people are asked to deplane and reschedule their flight, often with an incentive from the airline, and not removed by force.
Just last week, United Airlines opted for the “force” method of deplaning passengers, seemingly for an overbooked flight. We have 10 facts for you to keep you up to date with the latest information on this fiasco.
1. Details of the Incident
On Sunday, 9th of April, United Express flight 3411 was apparently overbooked, and United needed to re-accommodate 4 passengers. 3 left without any issue, but the last one, a doctor, was removed by security, and dragged out of the plane screaming.
According to an eyewitness video, the man was injured by the manhandling, and was bleeding from the face. He reportedly ran back to the plane after being removed by security, and had to be removed a second time by medical services.
Speaking of the video, here it is. You can see the brutality for yourself.
3. United CEO response
On the next day, United Airlines tweeted a response from their CEO regarding the incident. Unfortunately, it was a PR disaster, as the response seemed to dismiss the violence.
United CEO response to United Express Flight 3411. pic.twitter.com/rF5gNIvVd0
— United (@united) April 10, 2017
After intense public backlash over that response, made worse by an apparent letter on the same day to United employees defending the crew’s actions towards a “disruptive and belligerent” passenger, United released another response the next day, this time more muted and apologetic, but the damage was already done.
— United (@united) April 11, 2017
4. Online Backlash
As the video of the shocking treatment of the passenger quickly spread online, public backlash was swift and merciless. Countless people have stated their intention to boycott the airline and cancel their tickets, and countless more have commented angrily to the inhumane treatment of a passenger.
Suffice it to say, social media exploded with people talking about the incident and condemning the actions of the crew/security. As United released their first response, even more people came out to condemn their reaction, with late night talk shows even joining in with scathing remarks and skits.
5. Internet Memes
This being the Internet, we quickly got memes out of this incident as well, in the form of the trending hashtag #unitedAIRLINES. People are making fun of the airlines in various manners, either with hilarious memes, or parody taglines, such as “We put the Hospital in Hospitality” and many others.
6. Stock Market Reaction
Following the incident and hilariously ineffective CEO response, the market shares of United Continental (UAL) fell dramatically, a whopping 1.1% overnight. Which translates to about 225 million dollars lost. As the airline weathers this PR storm, it remains to be seen how investors will regard the prospects of the airline. Currently, public uproar and cries for boycotting are still rising, but the market shares have been rising as well.
7. Victim’s Response
Today, the victim of the incident, a Dr David Dao, has sent his official response to CNBC.
NEW: CNBC has just received statement on behalf of United Airlines Passenger Dr. David Dao pic.twitter.com/IgF0gGPls3
— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) April 11, 2017
He was seen complaining about “everything” being injured slightly after the incident, and yelling about being treated badly because of his race.
Further reports have confirmed that the flight was in fact not overbooked at all. Rather, United Airlines needed four seats for crew members needed the next day for another flight in Louisville, which would be cancelled if they didn’t make it.
However, it is pretty unusual for the arrangements to be done when passengers are already seated, as it is usually dealt with before boarding.
Curiously enough, it wasn’t the crew members who physically assaulted the passenger, but airport security. Nobody really seemed to have caught on to that.
9. Chinese Outrage
When the video was posted on the Chinese version of twitter, Weibo, public outrage was quick. The video quickly garnered over 500 million views and more than 240,000 comments condemning the airline’s actions.
Once it was confirmed that the victim was of Asian descent, Chinese netizens and state media both jumped on it, using the incident as evidence that the West are hypocrites when it came to human rights.
Many complained about the inherent racism, and a #chineselivesmatter petition from a Chinese-American for federal investigation into this matter have already exceeded its 100,000 signatures target. However, the victim, Dr Dao, is of Vietnamese descent.
10. Details about Victim
This story has the chance to end better if United had taken the chance to induce some change in the air travel industry with regards to passenger treatment and corporate-customer relations. Unfortunately, this just seems to be getting uglier, as the frankly quite unsavoury history of the victim came to light recently.
Dr. Dao had once been charged for obtaining drugs by fraud in 2004, and was put on probation. He had been trading narcotics for sexual favours, and his medical license was only restored in 2015.
Note that this history shouldn’t colour the perceptions of this particular violent incident in any manner, as the airline had no way of knowing about this. Nevertheless, it seems to be a safe assumption that some might see this incident different as a result.
Since you’re here, why not check out Goody Feed’s YouTube videos as well? They’re so Singaporean, I bet you’ll like them!
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Featured Image: thedailybanter.com
This article was first published on goodyfeed.com