On April 9, 2017 at 5:40 p.m. United Airlines Flight 3411 was scheduled for departure. As the passengers were boarding and settled, the staff announced that the flight was overbooked and asked for volunteers to leave the flight and be compensated with a $400 voucher and a stay at a hotel for the following day’s flight. When no one volunteered, the airline supervisor selected random candidates to be removed. One couple was selected and left the flight, next was a very upset passenger, Dr. David Dao. Dao refused to give up his seat but according to the claims that the flight is overbooked and needed space, Dao was forcefully removed from his seat by security. According to USA Today, “United CEO Oscar Munoz said in his letter to employees that Dao raised his voice and grew “more and more disruptive and belligerent” and airline staff “were left with no choice” to call security officers.” Passengers have captured videos of Dao’s removal and posted them on social media; it was trending on YouTube with over 3 million views.
Three officers were involved in Dao’s removal. Dao is seen screaming and trying to defend himself for his seat. Unfortunately, Dao was injured in the removal process and is dragged down the aisle by the hands. Shortly after, Dao returned to the plane disoriented with a bloodied face. A teacher and his students on the flight volunteered to give up their seats. The following day reveals United Airlines’ situation of overbooking the flight.
The reason for staff requesting for volunteers to exit the current flight was due to a problem of overbooking. United Airlines clarified that Flight 3411 was not overbooked but sold out. United and regional affiliate Republic Airlines – the unit that operated Flight 3411 – “came to the conclusion that they had to remove four passengers from the aircraft to accommodate crewmembers who were needed in Louisville the next day for a ‘downline connection’”. The airline wanted to make room for staff that needed to be on the flight. Business Insider reveals how airlines choose to remove passengers. The four passengers selected to be removed were not chosen at random using factors such as the fare class of their tickets, frequent-flyer status, their itinerary, and when they checked in the flight.
The following day on April 11, 2017, Dao and his family are grateful for all the positive prayers and support for their case. The officer who dragged Dao was placed on leave along with the other two officers. The video that was originally posted on Facebook when viral and trended on YouTube. Statement from United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz on United Express Flight 3411, “I want you to know that we take full responsibility and we will work to make it right.” Hopefully another horrible event like this will not happen on United Airlines or any other.