by Sarah Willson
United Airlines is set to testify at an upcoming United States House Transportation Committee hearing after a passenger was dragged off an overbooked flight on April 9, in order to make room for crew members.
According to CNN, the 69-year-old passenger, Dr. David Dao, who was forcefully removed from the aircraft, is filing a lawsuit after suffering a concussion, broken nose and the loss of two front teeth, said his attorney.
The airline, which is facing severe backlash from the public, was quick to apologize to Dao, saying they “continue to express [their] sincerest apology to Dr. Dao,” and “cannot stress enough that [they] remain steadfast in [their] commitment to make [the situation] right,” according to an article published by CNN on April 10.
The airline made a claim on April 18 saying no one will be fired after the incident.
Despite the apology, fellow passengers on the flight were still upset by the violent turn of events.
“Had they just tried some diplomacy, none of this would have taken place,” said one man who was on the flight when the incident occurred.
One passenger tweeted at United, saying they had “no words” for the “poor man.”
CCSU students were also outraged after the violent removal.
“I was very shocked to hear how they handled it. After seeing the video, I felt nothing but sympathy for the doctor,” said computer science major Justin Wanciak. “I find it despicable that people could just sit around while that happened to him.”
Moryam Badiru, a junior majoring in social work, agreed.
“I thought it was just horrible”, said Badiru. “He paid for a ticket to go somewhere and he just got dragged off, bleeding on the airline.”
“Nobody’s going to want to fly with them,” said Badiru, referring to United Airlines.
When asked about how the airline could have better handled the situation, Badiru said the problem could have been solved by avoiding overbooked flights.
“If a flight is overbooked, they shouldn’t still be selling tickets and seats,” said Badiru.
At the very least, Badiru believed that the overbooked passengers should be put on the next flight out to their destination.
Although agreeing that overbooking was the issue, Wanciak had a slightly different approach as to how United could have better handled what happened.
“De-escalation training should be essential for officers or security as a first line of protection. If an individual can be coerced to calm down or comply, it resolves the situation before conflict,” said Wanciak. “Sure, they offer money as compensation, but some things are more important than that.”
“Dr. Dao should not have automatically been forced off, and should not have been manhandled to the point where he had been bloodied,” said Wanciak. “Understandably, people are going to be really angry when they are thrown off a plane they paid for, so why not have better contingencies for it?”
More than anything, both students agree that United Airlines is in the wrong.
“It makes no sense,” said Badiru. “Who does that?”
“United Airlines is without a doubt in the wrong with this one,” said Wanciak. “There are so many other techniques that people can employ to try and convince people to give up their seats.”
The date has not been set for the upcoming U.S. House Transportation Committee hearing.
The airline has made no further comments on the incident.