The United Scandal

By Asa Brown

Recently, Dr. David Dao was kicked off a United Airlines flight after the plane was overbooked. Dao will probably sue, according to his lawyer.

When I first saw the video of Dao getting dragged off a plane, my immediate reaction was similar to that of many other people, a gut-wrenching, sickening feeling.

To top it off, United handled the thing terribly, turning nearly everyone against them. In general, the backlash against United united both liberals and conservatives this week, so I guess the corporation is living up to its name. Was there a better way to handle it? Yes. Do they deserve all the lost business and money ($700 million) for this? Probably. Dragging screaming passengers off a plane is not a good look.

But could Dao have prevented this with a grumble and saunter off the plane, like his co-passengers? I say yes. Hundreds of people get kicked off planes because of overbooking every day. And because this guy was a jerk, he is the one receiving support? It doesn’t seem right. Obviously, most of the support is for the injuries, and not the getting pulled off, but the whole thing seems skewed. I mean, if the police are telling you to get off a plane, you get off the plane. Everyone should know that, especially a medical professional.

Scientists believe the an average adult makes about 35,000 decisions in a day. Most of these are small, meaningless decisions, but some matter. Within reason, you control your life. And both United and the police handled it poorly, making bad decisions. But Dao didn’t do everything correctly either. And yes, nobody should have to be dragged off a plane missing teeth and bleeding from the nose. However, at least a little bit, Dao brought it upon himself.

7 thoughts on “The United Scandal

  1. I would like to disagree…. The man received a concussion, a broken nose, two lost tooth, and he actually had patients to tend to. The way the randomized passengers who were chosen was completely unethical. Even though it was legal because of small fine print, not one of the passengers know of this fact and it was morally wrong.

  2. But Dao did state that he needed to see a patient and couldn’t afford to be rebooked. IMO that’s a legit reason. And i don’t remember reading anywhere in the news that the airport security is equivalent of the police itself.

  3. And I don’t remember reading anywhere in the news that airport security is equivalent of the actual police itself.

  4. That is a good point Bryan, but United is typically a cheaper airline. United is able to do this with less expensive planes and booking more seats per actual seats. In a sense, with buying a cheaper ticket, Dao was more likely to be kicked off. Also, overbooking is much more common many people think. Like I said, this happens to many people each day, and there has never been much of a problem, with the exception of inconvenience.

  5. Regarding the point about his patients, David Dao’s medical history is frankly shocking. In addition to many other surprising facts, his license was suspended for 10+ years, and he was convicted for prescribing painkillers in exchange for sexual relations (record via this link: Dao was certainly not the ideal doctor. He was indicted with eight felony counts, to boot. This all is not to say that United’s actions were in any way justified, but that his belligerence cannot be supported by claiming any kind of medical heroism. The field is likely far better off without him.

  6. I also disagree. What happened exactly at that moment, what people said and what did the man experience you never know. So it’s probably not fair to make your statement that “Dao brought it upon himself”. Moreover, this is not a simple overbooking situation. The four people were replaced by United employees. Does this have any legal or moral justification? Certainly, whether or not UA’s action was legal is still under debate. If you’re interested, feel free to read this article.

    Asian lives matter.

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