A United Airlines flight that was supposedly overbooked sparked outrage when a man was physically forced out of his seat on April 10.
Dr. David Dao of Elizabethtown, Kentucky was on a flight leaving O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on its way to Louisville when members of the Department of Transportation asked him to give up his seat.
“This situation was unfortunately compounded when one of the passengers we politely asked to deplane refused, and it became necessary to contact Chicago Aviation Security Officers to help,” a statement by United Airlines CEO, Oscar Munoz said.
Four people on the flight were asked to give up their seats because the Department of Transportation claimed the flight was overbooked. Three passengers left the flight but Dao refused.
“He was very polite, matter-of-fact,” passenger Jason Powell said in an interview with USA Today. “I could hear pretty clearly. He was acting appropriately annoyed. I was 100% with him I wouldn’t have gotten off the plane either.”
The passengers who were asked to exit the airplane were selected by frequent-flier status, fare type, check-in time and connecting flight implications, among others things, according to NBC.
After Dao declined to leave the flight a security official grabbed him and began pulling him down the aisle of the aircraft. He received minor injuries and left the plane “bloodied up” according to Powell.
“The family of Dr. Dao wants the world to know that they are very appreciative of the outpouring of prayers, concern, and support they have received,” Dao’s lawyer Steven Golan said in a statement. “Currently, they are focused only on Dr. Dao’s medical care and treatment.”
Dao and his family have declined to talk to the media at this time.
It turns out that Dao wasn’t asked to leave his flight because of overbooking. United Airlines needed to send crew members to Louisville and the flight was full.
This is the second time in two weeks that United Airlines has been under fire.
Last week United Airlines received criticism after forcing two young women to change out of their yoga pants because it is considered “banned attire”.
“I continue to be disturbed by what happened on this flight, and I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard,” Munoz said in a statement. “No one should ever be mistreated this way.”