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Dr Dao and the United Airlines incident

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  • Dr Dao and the United Airlines incident

    I have been mildly surprised that there has been no discussion regarding the incident where one of your colleagues, Dr Dao, was dragged from a United Airlines flight this week, especially from the immigrant/1st gen community. As a fellow Kentuckian, I have had a particular interest in the story. Any thoughts on this post from MommyDoc? Boycott United Airlines for Condoning Unrepentant Violence
    Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

  • #2
    I can and will boycott United (I don't live in a United hub and am willing and able to pay more to fly with other companies)

    While what United did was horrible, I have a feeling things would have been handled similarly by any of the other terrible US legacy airlines (delta, AA)

    Many others simply don't have the power to make United feel pain. My retired and on a fixed income in laws live near EWR which is a major United hub. Good luck finding another airline with reasonably priced nonstop flights out of EWR

    In the end, this will blow over and life will move on as unsatisfying a resolution as that might be. I do hope Dr Dao extracts his pound of flesh from United.

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    • #3
      People that complain need to talk more with their wallets and less with their mouths/keyboard fingers. Companies have to feel it in their balance sheets before they'll make any change.

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      • #4
        Agree with max power. Its interesting / pathetic how Munoz's tone changed once united's market cap started dropping

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        • #5
          As an investor,  both UAL and the airline ETFs did not slip relative to S&P500.  No opportunity to exploit a dip.

          Meanwhile there are real nasty, dangerous, intoxicated passengers. How will these be removed in the future?

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          • #6
            While I like everyone else was wondering why United didn't offer more $$, I also was mildly dismayed no other passengers volunteered to get off the plane for him once he said he was a physician who had to get back to see patients, and once it escalated to a police confrontation.  I'd like to think I would have done so if I didn't have a compelling reason to be home that night.

            I'm flying back from Eastern Europe (via Lufthansa and Alaska Air) in a month with patients to see the following day, and I'd stand to lose a lot more than $800 should I get stranded.

            After all this, I can't imagine any airline will forcibly remove a passenger with police again.  So is their only option now to keep raising the incentives that they will offer passengers for voluntary rebooking?  Or might they threaten passengers who refuse to comply with involuntary "re-accommodation" in other ways, such as lifetime bans, forfeiture of FF miles, etc?

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            • #7
              Well, it's obviously insane to assault a paying passenger; the topic has been covered pretty extensively in the press.

              I used this as validation for maintaining elite status on Delta.  I pay more, I often have to fly the wrong direction to get to the hub, and may not have the most convenient flight schedule.  However, when push comes to shove (or beat and drag, in this case), being platinum makes assault and battery less likely.

              This is something I argue about with my wife; when things are going well, the benefits of customer service are expected and therefore go unnoticed (lines, lounge, seating, baggage handling).  When things are bad (delays, overbooking, cancellations), the airlines go out of their way to protect and "re-accommodate" elite/premium fliers.  Actually, it could be a good topic for a financial analysis.

              However, Dr Dao (and his lawyer) will undoubtedly have a very large windfall in the near future, so flying coach worked out for him.

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              • #8
                @G, you point out an interesting strategy wrt. paying for elite status.  More delays and layovers can be expected when one lives outside a hub.   In contrast, I live 1.5 hours from ORD;  I use direct flights only.

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                • #9
                  United Airlines screwed up and so did the airport police. They'll pay heavily for it. But there is a lesson here:

                  There were no winners in this incident. Dr. Dao lost 4 teeth and got cut up. He lost just as much as everyone else. I see people who haven't learned this lesson all the time in the ER. Here's the lesson:
                  When the cops show up, the game is over. The cops are going to win. The cops are going to win. The cops are going to win. Got that? When you get pulled over, be nice to the cop. Put your hands on the steering wheel, turn your dome light on, roll down your window, say "Yes Sir" or "Yes Ma'am." The cops are going to win.

                  When the cops say "Time to get off the plane" you stand up and walk off the plane. Sure, call your attorney. Sure, demand some ridiculous sum from United. But you don't sit there like an idiot thinking you're going to win. You're not going to win. The cops are going to win. They have lots of friends, lots of radios, and lots of guns. The cops are going to win. Even if they don't have the law on their side, they are going to win.

                  When the cop says "Stop and put your hands up" you should stop and put your hands up. When the cop says "come out from under that trailer or I'm sending the dog in" you should come out from under the trailer. You don't want to meet the dog under the trailer. The dog will win. Then the cops will win.

                  I'm not sure why this is such a hard concept for so many people, but there is no doubt that it is. Dr. Dao, smart as he may be, has not yet learned this lesson in his life. The other three people kicked off that plane have learned this lesson. They still have all their teeth. Dr. Dao? He now looks like a semi-pro hockey player. Was that worth it? Did he really think if he didn't get up and walk off the plane there weren't going to be consequences?
                  Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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                  • #10


                    After all this, I can’t imagine any airline will forcibly remove a passenger with police again.  So is their only option now to keep raising the incentives that they will offer passengers for voluntary rebooking?  Or might they threaten passengers who refuse to comply with involuntary “re-accommodation” in other ways, such as lifetime bans, forfeiture of FF miles, etc?
                    Click to expand...


                    It seems, in hindsight, such an obvious solution - an attendant could have simply been authorized to board the plane and auction off a seat. Who could have thought that forcibly removing a passenger who had already paid for a ticket and boarded - in front of the rest of the passengers and everyone in the world with an internet connection - was a good idea? The police may have won this one, but the ubiquitous cell phone camera has changed the game forever. It continues to amaze me that people continue to overlook the high possibility that any public act is going to be recorded and displayed for millions to see.
                    Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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                    • #11
                      Am I the only one who would expect more from this guy as a professional than what I observed on that video? He basically through a tantrum. His behaviors are what I see from my five year old patients at times. Your number got called; accept it and go. Sure, it angers you that United overbooked, offered squat for reimbursement and filled the plane with their own employees. Fine, tear them a new one with reviews and don't fly their airline. You don't throw a tantrum in front of a police officer. Ever. I expect more from a physician. It is your job to keep cool in stressful situations.

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                      • #12
                        Interesting how few people are commenting about the role of personal responsibility here as well. Of course the force was excessive but why are we not hearing more about his role in this. When a person of authority tells you to do something, do it. He could have dealt with this afterward. Why do we hear about personal responsibility when some teenager in the urban core doesn't listen to the police, but not when a doctor on a plane refuses it seems to be a different standard?

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                        • #13
                          Delta is taking advantage of the United debacle by increasing the max amount awarded to someone who voluntary gives up their seat to nearly $10,000. Good PR move by Delta, and maybe an example of how capitalism works when there's actually competition.

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                          • #14
                            To me another issue is routinely overbooking the flights.  I understand they want the plane full but if people have paid and no show they still get the dollars..I think it is wrong to sell the same seat twice.

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                            • #15


                              he police may have won this one,
                              Click to expand...


                              The police did not win this one. In fact the Chicago police disowned them and stated clearly that they should have changed their uniform to state that they were security and not police, and they did not. Should it go to trial ( unlikely) that will come out.

                              Yes, he lost his teeth and had injuries but should you accept meekly every time even if you are right. Should Gandhi, Rosa Parks and MLK have accepted the police orders every time because they will win. I am not stating that Dr. Dao was a civil rights leader but sometimes you have to stand up for your rights if you are doing the right thing. It was not like he was speeding and refused to take a breath analyzer test.

                              United or any airline will never use force again against a non unruly and non disruptive customer. The airline will have to pay appropriately rather than use force. If their profits are less and that their insensitive CEO gets less bonus or is forced to resign, so be it.

                              And all of this because of one person, and the availability of cell phone cameras everywhere.

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