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Fly the Friendly Skies?!?!

Marion Charatan

Posted on April 13, 2017 18:57

1 user

Passenger will sue after video of him being dragged out of United Airline seat goes viral

What has the world come to? Honestly, the lack of civility and legality in handling people has gone off the charts. You can get paranoid from a simple traffic stop, if you mistakenly jaywalk or now even traveling on an airline as a paying customer.

I always say there are ‘too many people and too few services.’

Airline companies’ policies of bumping passengers -- pretty much at random -- must be examined closely. The US Department of Transportation governs consumer rights in travel. Their counsel should be looking to see if civil rights are violated by demanding how passengers give up paid seats.

In addition, the Federal Trade Commission is a place where the consumers may file complaints about possible bad practices or mistreatment. But it should start with the airlines themselves and their so-called commitment to customer service. The corporate office of each airline should re-examine their policies and make them 'consumer friendly' so no passenger is ever dragged off a plane by security.

Back in the day, if you volunteered when a flight was overbooked, you got a handsome pay day (sometimes double or triple the ticket price; a free roundtrip ticket plus cash) along with a hotel stay plus room service. You actually felt a little special. Today, you can get forcibly dragged off an aircraft by burly security guards to the extreme of suffering bodily injury.

Dr. David Dao, a passenger on a full flight from Chicago to Louisville, was roughly dragged from his seat last Sunday, April 9 because he simply refused to give up that seat to make room for crew members. The visceral video went viral. The bloodied Dao looks upset and dazed. His attorney Thomas Demetrio said the airline industry has ‘bullied customers’ for far too long.

The 69-year-old Vietnamese-American physician claimed he suffered a concussion, broken nose and lost two front teeth. The media dug up some dirt on the doc when the video exploded. According to the New York Post, among others, Dr. Dao has a felony conviction for trading narcotics prescriptions and cash for gay sex in motels. But there is no way the airline security would have known this before the dragging incident.

In spite of Dao’s past, there is no justification for an airline to treat a passenger the way he was treated. United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz personally and publicly apologized to Dao. Originally, Munoz said Dao had been belligerent. Later, the executive said that no one should ever be handled the way Dao was under any circumstance.

United will undoubtedly have to cough up a huge pay day for the doc. Dao probably won’t have to work another day in his life -- in medicine or anything else -- when United settles.

What the airlines need to do, moving forward, is assure passengers they will never be manhandled if they can't give up their seats in the event of overbooking. And airlines should not overbook flights ever. Even if that affects the bottom line....

Marion Charatan

Posted on April 13, 2017 18:57

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