By Shamce Ahmad |Staff Writer|
United Airlines has taken a large amount of criticism and backlash in the las few weeks since a passenger was forcibly removed from United Airlines flight 3411 due to an overbooking situation.
Three United Airlines employees dragged Dr. David Dao off his flight after refusing to give up his seat on the overbooked flight, which needed extra seats for employees who were making their way to another airport in Louisville, on April 11.
Dao suffered a broken nose, two broken front teeth, and a bloodied mouth in the incident, prompting fellow passengers to record videos of the event and publish it throughout the internet.
The CEO of United Airlines, Oscar Munoz, initially defended his employees in his initial press release, stating that “our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this.”
This response led to further outrage in the community.
As a result of this incident, United Airlines’ stock portfolio has dropped 1.1 percent in the week since, which is equivalent to roughly $255 million in values of market cap, according to Forbes.
Customers and others alike have shared their frustrations with the way United Airlines has handled the situation and the fallout of the incident.
“I cannot believe they would treat a paying customer like that,” said seasoned passenger, Tony Pickett. “I understand they have rules, but you cannot just drag somebody off a plane like that for nothing.”
Pickett said that he will no longer be flying with United Airlines at all, even though he travels often to the East Coast.
“It is absolutely gross and humiliating to everyone involved,” said student Bobby Gage. “The response from the CEO was even worse because he didn’t even sound apologetic.”
The tone that United Airlines was giving off in response to the occurrence irritated Gage.
“That poor guy is going to make millions off them, as he should,” said Gage.
Another customer, Michael Tobin, spoke out about the context of the situation.
“It’s one thing if the passenger did something wrong, or sat somewhere he wasn’t supposed to,” Tobin said. “But the whole reason the guy was dragged out was because United overbooked their flight and made a mistake, and that’s the biggest issue I have with it.”
Tobin himself didn’t fly with United Airlines often to begin with, so it hasn’t changed his flight patterns much, as he will continue to fly outside of their realm.
After everything, United Airlines has taken a big hit in their public relations department, and they will need to do a lot to refurbish their image. Though even this has gotten off to a rough start.
Just a few days later, another incident occurred on a United Airlines flight, as a scorpion fell from an overhead bin onto a man and stung him. A couple flying to their wedding were booted from their flight in response to another customer occupying their seats, on April 18.
United Airlines has some damage control to perform if they want their sales back.