I’m Sick of Injustice Dressed as Inconvenience

How many people have to be harmed by corporate power before they can be held accountable?

David Dao (69), his wife and granddaughter.

David Dao is being dragged through the media mud this morning talking about his drug charges as if his past behavior makes just the current behavior of United Airlines.

It does not.

David Dao is a senior citizen. He is a man who is 69 years old and didn’t expect to be dragged by his hands and feet from an aircraft.

You can’t dress that statement up and make me believe it was justified. You can’t do it.


Not promoting those bloody and abusive images to further dehumanize Mr. Dao. He is a family man who didn’t deserve the treatment he received.


I don’t care what David Dao was doing in the past. In the present, he was a passenger on United Airlines trying to get home.

United offered an $800 voucher David didn’t want. Hell, in his place, I wouldn’t want it either. Once I get on a plane, there is only one place I want to be.

HOME.

Make no mistake about it. Once I am on a plane, unless it’s on fire or crashing, I want nothing more in the Universe than to be getting off: AT MY DESTINATION.


How dare United decide to FORCE him off the plane because they didn’t plan accordingly on how to get their flight crews to their next destination. Here is a quote for you, United:

“A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.”

When no one bit at your offer, your solution was to find another way to get your crew there. Offer more money. Offer an incentive. Give people cash.

Or…


Just wait. Like everyone else has to.

Or go lightly staffed on that plane which was waiting for crew. Or maybe you just just stop cutting your damn margins so close and pay people closer to the location where the staff was needed.

You don’t get to force people off of planes. You don’t get to force senior citizens off planes.

No matter what their ethnic makeup might be.


Yes, I went there. You made me.

You see, you are a megacorporation worth (wait let me check…)

“Through the airline’s parent company, United Continental Holdings, it is publicly traded under NYSE: UAL with a market capitalization of over $18 billion as of September 2014.”

Thank you, Wikipedia.

$18 Billion. When you screw up. You pay for it.


You screwed up.

You had four team members who needed to be someplace but your business practice, which has made you fabulously rich, has made your support staff arrogant and shortsighted.

Instead of making it worth someone’s while through incentives (like cash or something other than your damn airline vouchers — because let’s face it, time is money, and making me get off a plane is time (money) so make it mean something to me.

Instead of doing that, you used force.


As if there was going to be NO consequence.

Did you really think there would be no consequences? Did anyone who was on the scene think no one was going to care?

That no one was going to say anything? In a world where every phone is a camera?

You thought you were going to kick a senior citizen off a plane by force, injuring him in the process, dragging him through a plane by his hands and feet and no one was going to say ANYTHING?

Really?


Your team, on-site should be fired immediately. Not a single one of them should have a job by sunset.

Their manager, who promoted this line of thought, either through fear or by setting the example that being a monster is acceptable in our business practices, should also be fired.

Because now, their behavior has become a corporate liability.

How much will it cost you in bad press? Even as you attempt to demonize David Dao in the media, what will it ultimately cost you?


Don’t think I didn’t notice your “He ain’t no angel” branding in the media.

He isn’t the organization at fault.

If he wasn’t snacking on Human limbs at the time you threw him off the plane, he was perfectly within his right to tell you:

“Fuck off. I want to go home.”

So being cheap will now cost you millions. Being arrogant will cost you millions. Bad press will wither your company’s sagging reputation.


David Dao should take you to court and I am certain there are lawyers lined up around his house waiting to do so, on contingency if they must.

To be frank: You deserve to lose. You deserve to be shamed. This should be a nail in an overdue but well deserved coffin.

Don’t take my word for it. Read just how many times United has told people to just get bent.


Overpriced air travel, cramped quarters, overbooked flights, luggage fees, unexpected delays due to poor planning are part and parcel of the travel industry.

But no one expects to be dragged from their plane, hours from home, for any reason.

Particularly if they are not to blame for the problem.

It’s just not done.


So do your worst.

Drag David Dao’s name through whatever media grist mill you want.

You are a worldwide corporation whose reputation has taken a fascist turn for the worst.

I will never fly your airline again. I bet a whole lot of people around the world are thinking the same thing.

We’re people, dammit. Act like it. You better hope people forget. They certainly won’t forgive.


You better hope David Dao settles.

I sure as hell wouldn’t.

Fly the Friendly Skies of United, my ass.

This article first appeared as a Series on Medium: I am sick of injustice dressed as inconvenience


Thaddeus Howze is a journalist who is sick and tired of corporations and governments treating people like they don’t matter.

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