United Airlines passenger removed from aircraft by force

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On Sunday, April 9, United Airlines forcibly removed passenger David Dao, a Chinese physician, from flight 3411 due to overbooking. Before boarding, the United offered a $400 incentive to any passenger willing to step down.

On April 9, David Dao was forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight – the violence of the removal caused physical harm to Dao (photo courtesy of Tomas Del Coro via the Flickr Creative Commons)

After all passengers had been boarded however, the company requested four more people leave to make room for United employees. Three of the passengers left with minimal complaints. David Dao refused to leave, insistent that he needed to see patients first thing in the morning.

According to the United Airlines spokesmen, attendants politely asked Dao to leave the plane and, when he refused, called the police to interfere. The resulting confrontation left Dao with a head injury and bleeding wounds.

Several fellow passengers recorded the altercation on video as Dao was dragged from the plane by several officers. The video hit Twitter and went viral, sparking controversy. The public reacted negatively to the violent removal, shaming United Airlines for mistreating passengers.

According to United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz, the overbooking was a systemic issue, identifying no guilty party. No one from United Airlines will be fired or reprimanded for the incident, although the company released an apology. The issue, they state, will not become a future problem. Munoz later released a statement applauding the employee’s willingness to deal with belligerent passengers.

The officers from the Chicago aviation department that physically removed Dao have been temporarily suspended.

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