Posted on Apr 13, 2017
A lot can happen when flying commercial airlines. It’s not always the most pleasant experience and commercial airlines haven’t traditionally been making things easier - at least since 2001. More and more decisions are based off the bottom line and not to the convenience or comfort of the passenger. Not only are new designs limiting space and packing in passengers like sardines, overbooking is the new proficient policy. Overbooking flights since 2001 has become the trend for most commercial airline. This ensures planes are filled to capacity when taking off and airlines squeeze every last cent out of every flight.
However, when overbooking methods are used, problems are sure to arise. Naturally there will be times when there simply isn’t enough room for every passenger. In the David Dao case, this is exactly what happened.
A 69-year-old doctor, David Dao was one of four people who was randomly selected to get off the overbooked flight. The plane was supposed to take off Sunday April 9th, 2017 from O'Hare International Airport for Louisville. To make room for United flight crew members who needed to get to an assignment in Louisville, David Dao and several other were selected to be removed.
When bartering for services it’s natural to expect both parties to fulfill their end of the deal. Deviating from the agreement is unfair, immoral, and simply wrong – especially when arrangements are in human control. David Dao legally purchased a ticket and made plans to travel on Sunday April 9th, 2017. In return United Airlines offered safe travel from Chicago to Louisville on the 9th, a trade or barter that was expected to be fulfilled. However, United did not fulfill their end of the barging and expected David to accept changes because United overbooked.
This type of problem is ever increasing in commercial airline travel. Some statics say that over 40,000 passengers per year are overbooked. Is this a trend we should tolerate?
On Sunday April 9th, things came to a head when Dao refused to move. David Dao was then forcibly removed. David did nothing wrong. He broke no laws. But, in return for not complying with United’s last-minute change, David’s nose was broken as he was dragged off by Airport Police. This stirred a number of other passengers to record the indecent and let it explode on social media.
This type of action should not occur nor should be acceptable. David had broken no law and there was no reason to use force to remove David. Airport Police had no legal reason to forcibly remove the passenger. David had every legal right to remain on the plane and travel to his destination. Naturally, all who were involved will face Dao in court.
There are laws that protect parties when bartering occurs in the US. Should airlines have an ‘exception’? Although Untied reserves the right to make changes to their agreement (stated in their agreements), it’s not always ethical or even fair. In David's case, how ethical and fair was it for David to move or make room for crew members needed somewhere else? Sure, exceptions can arguably occur, but in David's case, this was plain wrong.
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