It was two years ago that Dr. David Dao was dragged off a United flight for failing to give up his seat. Now he has resurfaced, recounting the incident in a surprisingly conciliatory tone.
Let’s not forget that Dao suffered a broken nose, concussion, and lost two teeth after he refused to step off an oversold United Express flight from Chicago to Louisville. The incident made headline news around the world for several days and forced United and other airline to re-evaluate their policies for involuntarily bumping passengers.
Dao appeared on Good Morning America, sharing that he had little recollection of the incident. After his head was bumped, his mind blurred until woke up in a hospital bed surrounded by a trauma team.
Dao has since retired but complains of lingering issues with balance, concentration, and sleep.
He claims he may have been willing to give up his seat had United asked him nicely rather than demanded he get off the plane. He also added that he held no grudge against the Chicago Department of Aviation officers who dragged him off, remarking that they were simply doing their job.
Here’s the interview:
Looking back on the incident, United remarked:
This year, we are focused more than ever on our commitment to our customers, looking at every aspect of our business to ensure that we keep their best interests at the center of everything that we do. As our CEO Oscar Munoz has said, we at United never want anyone in the United family to forget the experience of Flight 3411. It makes us a better airline, a more caring company and a stronger team.
While the incident certainly does not make a United a better airline, remembering it can. United’s new policy of offering up to $10,000 in flight credits before involuntary bumping a passenger serves as a fitting memorial to that horrific day in 2017.
It’s no surprise that Dao has appeared literally two years after the incident to the day. Knowing how non-disclosure agreements work, I have to imagine that we have not heard a peep out of him for the last two years because it was part of his settlement agreement (rumored to be as high as eight digits). But now he’s back and able to freely speak.
He told Good Morning America:
Well, the most important thing is the accident turned out the positive way.
It $ertainly did…
His appearance is a reminder that United has made great progress in its overbooking policy, but the raw emotions he expressed make clear that the pain is still there.