Written by Tonja Bagwell
United Airlines (UA) instigated a brutal attack on their airplane. The world has voiced their anger and disgust with UA and their CEO Oscar Munoz. Since the horrific ordeal on Flight 3411, videos and comments on social media have been incessant. The negative focus has been on UA as it should be. The assaulted passenger, Dr. David Dao, sat in a seat UA assigned to him after he paid the cost of the airline ticket. He was non-violent, non-threatening and wanted UA to deliver the services he paid them to provide.
Even though UA made the call to bring in officers from the Chicago Aviation Police (CAP), I have pondered why officers were able to aggressively and violently remove a citizen who had not presented a threat to anyone. One officer seemed more than willing to inhumanely yank and drag the passenger as if he had no regard for a human life. United sicced the pitbull-like officers on their passenger, but the officers made a choice to brutally abuse a defenseless senior citizen. No one forced the officers to yank the guy from the seat, bang his face on the armrest, and drag him like a dead carcass after a hunting expedition.
The question of brutality and excessive use of violence continues to be an issue with various types of officers who are supposedly civil servants. United Airlines has been forced to acknowledge their wrongdoing. Hopefully, both UA and CAP will be obligated to compensate the wounded passenger. Even though UA wanted this passenger off of the plane, the officers were still in control of their behaviors. There is no scenario in the world that justifies a brutal assault by a mob of officers against one non-threatening and defenseless person. The officers could have easily killed the passenger or seriously harmed others during the assaultive confrontation.
United Airlines and Chicago Aviation Police could have been sued for wrongful death if the elderly passenger had suffered a heart attack or fatal head injury. The CAP officers had no regard for the physical and mental wellness of the children and adults who were forced to watch this tragedy.
In an interesting article that detailed the role of the Chicago Aviation Police (CAP) versus the Chicago Police Department (CPD). It was unsettling to read that CAP has been desperately petitioning to have the right to carry firearms like the CPD. They are claiming that during dangerous incidents with armed suspects, they have to call upon the CPD and they would prefer to handle matters on their own. Handling matters on their own with firearms would probably increase the number of citizens killed by law enforcement officers.
Based on the aggressive assault against an unarmed senior citizen, I could not imagine what they would do to someone they suspect has a weapon. Maybe the passenger would have been pistol whipped or staring down the barrel of a gun pointed at his chest. Despite how badly that situation was for the assaulted passenger and other passengers, it could have been worse if weapons were involved.
All airlines and all aviation officers should make changes to improve their attitudes, policies and problem-solving methods. Overbooking and “re-accommodations” should never be resolved with violence against non-threatening and defenseless passengers. As I discuss in my book 6-A Model of Alcohol Abuse in Offenders, a person’s attitude system has a tremendous impact on how they approach life and the type of outcomes they will achieve. The CAP officers, the crewmembers and UA’s CEO, Oscar Munoz definitely could use a change in attitude.
Here’s a little list that airlines should consider:
- As humans, we deserve humane treatment at all times.
- As passengers, we pay for airline tickets because we need to reach a destination quicker than we could via car, bus, boat, or train.
- As consumers, we should receive the services you agreed to provide on the date and time you promised to provide when we paid. No more overbooking or re-accommodation games.
- As travelers, we can plan ahead and make arrangements to take more time to reach our destination by driving, taking a train, or bus. Do not take passengers for granted because we can find alternative solutions.
QUESTIONS & THOUGHTS TO PONDER:
- Do you think a refund for one distressful flight is enough compensation to make up for the trauma Flight 3411 passengers experienced, or do you think the passengers should file a class action lawsuit against United Airlines?
- Do you think the crewmembers and pilots should be terminated for their irresponsible mishandling of the situation, or do you think the CEO Oscar Munoz should accept full responsibility for the crew and pilot’s actions and resign?
- Do you think United Airlines should voluntarily compensate the abused passenger, David Dao, because he deserves it? If yes, how much do you think is a fair compensation?
- Are you willing to boycott United Airlines and possibly other airlines in an effort to force them to change their overbooking and re-accommodation policies?
I’m interested in reading your answers to the Questions & Thoughts to Ponder. Please leave comments about this article and other articles posted on Bagwell’s Book Blog. Do not forget to subscribe and/or follow me and to click Like.
Copyright ©️ 2017 by Tonja Bagwell. All Rights Reserved.