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Flying the Friendly Skies?

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Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Sophi Sanchez, Senior Editor

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On April 9, United Express Airlines flight 3411 with service from Chicago, Illinois to Louisville, Kentucky took off in a scandal. 

Four United Airlines employees needed to commute to Louisville. The airplane crew asked for volunteers in exchange for an $800 voucher; David Dao, a physician, and his wife agreed to step off the plane, but retracted their agreement when they were informed that the next flight would not depart until Monday. Dr. Dao returned to his seat, saying that he had patients to see in the morning.

As a result of his “disruptive and belligerent” behavior, the airline called law enforcement, who forcefully dragged him out of his seat against his will. During the assault, Dao’s head was slammed against an arm rest, resulting in head lacerations and bleeding from the mouth. The blow rendered him unconscious while authorities continued to haul him off the plane. Eventually, Dr. Dao was allowed back on the aircraft where his wounds were treated. 

Fellow passengers recorded the entire event, posting the videos on social media for the world to see. The videos have since gone viral, garnering 6.8 million views in a single day. Along with this newfound publicity, Dr. Dao’s criminal past was also revealed, showing that his license to practice medicine was almost revoked when he began a sexual relationship with a patient in exchange for prescription drugs. There are allegations that this is the wrong David Dao, but no one is really sure. 

Although United Airlines’ CEO Oscar Muños recently received an award for his skills in public relations, it took him three tries to make a sincere apology without defending the actions of his employees and law enforcement. On the third try, Muños promised that this type of incident would never occur again. Every passenger was refunded the full value of their tickets. 

Since the incident, the two officers responsible were suspended. However, the consequences didn’t stop there: United Airlines’ stock dropped by four percent, resulting in a loss of $225 million in market value and a total of $1.5 billion in market shares. 

Dr. Dao, who was found to have a concussion, has filed a lawsuit against the airline. 

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Flying the Friendly Skies?