Students react to United Airlines incident

by Alex Wang, Winged Post Sports Editor

Chicago Aviation police officers forcibly removed Dr. David Dao, a 69-year-old physician, from an overbooked United Airlines flight from Chicago to Louisville earlier this month.

Prior to takeoff, the airline chose Dao as one of four passengers to disembark to make room for four airline employees. Upon Dao’s refusal to give up his seat, United Airlines staff called in Chicago aviation authorities, who forcibly removed Dao, inflicting a concussion on him in the process. Dao was admitted into a Chicago hospital and has since been released.

United Airlines has since been embroiled in controversy. Some students have decided to take part in the boycott of United Airlines that has emerged following the incident with Dr. Dao.

“[United Airlines has] lost the confidence of customers because of their lack of preparation in dealing with these situations,” Sushant Thyagaraj (11) said. “They’ve displayed their incompetence and narrow mindset, so I will probably be avoiding them for the time being.”

Other students find that, while the brutality should be condemned, United Airlines’ hold in the airline industry is strong enough that a boycott would not be successful.

“Personally, I’m no less inclined to fly United. While yes, I acknowledge there are cases of overbooking, all airlines present that problem,” Misha Tseitlin (12) said. “ Honestly, there are legitimate concerns, but withdrawing business is unfeasible in such a loosely-regulated oligopoly; United isn’t going away and not flying on that specific airline is only going to raise ticket prices and make everyone more unsatisfied.”

Regular fliers of United Airlines hope that this is an isolated incident and that United will remain their choice of airline due to convenience.

“The United incident has received a lot of negative publicity — both the disregard for customers’ rights and United’s poor response are disappointing,” Katherine Tian (10) said. “However, long-time fliers will probably hope that this is an anomalous case and continue to fly for convenience.”

United Airlines has since issued apologies and United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz has announced that he takes full responsibility for the incident.