Thursday, April 27, 2017

EXTRA: Is United Airlines the Wizard of Oz in telling us to 'Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain?'

This is the image that we’re all expected to forget about.
Should we pretend it didn't happen?

The sight of David Dao, a Kentucky doctor, who didn’t want to be removed from the Chicago-to-Louisville flight he paid in full for, thereby causing the flight crew to call in the cops to have him forcibly removed.

MANY PEOPLE ON board that flight felt compelled to pull out the cheap video cameras installed on their portable telephones to record the moment back on April 9. Which is the only reason we have so much visual evidence of the way the doctor was roughed up. Although I wonder how many thought they were merely shooting some “crazy video” they could share with friends for a laugh.

Otherwise, I suspect that United Airlines, which had an agreement with the subcarrier that was actually running that particular flight from O’Hare International Airport to a lesser aviation market would not be so eager to “pay up.”

Dao suffered a broken nose, a concussion and had two teeth knocked out from the incident, but there are those people who want to believe he somehow brought this incident on himself. They are the ones who are going to be ranting and raging that it’s an injustice the airline paid Dao a cent and they should have fought for their “good name.”

Although I have trouble accepting that line of logic, largely because of the reality of the way these cases are settled.

FOR SURE ENOUGH, it was announced Thursday that the airline reached a legal settlement with Dao. His threat of a lawsuit will go away. He promises to not take any action that would be perceived as negative against United Airlines. In fact, he promises not to talk about the incident any more.

The airline won’t say how much money they wound up paying to him, and, of course, there is the obligatory statement by which the airline says it admits to no wrongdoing with regards to its conduct from the incident.

That really is what is most important to the airline. They don’t want any kind of written record being built up indicating they screwed up or did anything wrong.

They probably want the impression being created that Dao (or anyone who files a lawsuit) is just out for money, and that if they were really wronged, they would not have been so quick to take a cash settlement.

IF ANYTHING, THE most significant action out of this whole affair is that people now have a better idea of what airline policies are with regards to kicking people off of flights – which apparently is something they believe is their right to do.

You don’t have to be a threat or misbehaving to get the boot. I still think I’d probably react in a similar manner to Dao if I had been in his situation – needing to get somewhere by a certain time and paying good money for my ticket!

But I’m sure the airline thinks they are buying silence on the issue – which I’m sure they hope now fades away into the depths of our memories so that by year’s end, we’ll have forgotten that United ever did anything so crass. They’ll regard him the way the mighty Wizard of Oz wanted us to view that man behind the green curtain.
And if anybody takes the time to look up Dao, they’re more likely to find those sordid stories about his questionable practices as a doctor or his gambling habits than about anything that actually happened to him on board United Express flight 3411.


No comments: