If nothing else, you have seen the social media flare up surrounding Dr. David Dao being violently removed from a Untied Arline plane by Chicago cops. The details make the incident even wore. United overbooked the flight fro Chicago to Louisville. Four passengers needed to give up their seats for airline employees to fly. Dao refused to give up his eat because he had patients to see in Kentucky. United called on police to forcibly remove Dao. The cops gave him a vicious beating in the process of removing Dao from the plane. But another passenger recorded the incident. The recording ha now gone viral. Now United has both a public relations disaster and a personal injury suit on its hands.
Why is the practice of overbooking allowed? The rationale for selling more seats than capacity is because some passengers cancel or do not show up. But many times every passenger does show up. Those who cannot use the ticket they paid for must be compensated to make up for missing out on the their flight. This assumes they agree to forgo their flight. On Dao's flight, they did not. The overbooked passengers were put to a random lottery to see who could not fly. Doo was chosen, but still refused to give up his right to fly. Selling more of a product than you have available to sell sounds unethical. At least if overbooking is going to happen, passengers' need for travel out to be prioritized. A doctor treating patients or a man traveling to a family member's funeral should take priority over two guys on a fishing trip, for instance. If some passengers cannot fly because the airline overbooked, deciding who cannot fly should not arbitrary.
The other big question is why are police officers beating and dragging a passenger off the plane? Dao paid for a ticket t fly. He has a legal right to be on the plane. Those cops should have been defending his rights. Instead, they are acting like United's enforcers. I use the term enforcers deliberately. They were unethical brutal in beating Dao down at the behest of United. The cops have been placed on leave. They should have been fired. Depending on who or what entities are co-defendants in the inevitable lawsuit, they probably will be.
Even though I have a legal background, I generally detest our litigious society. Too many people are unwilling to tolerate the rough edges of life because they can sense of way of making many off suing over their inconvenience. However, there are times when something occurs that is so outrageous, those responsible need to pay. Dao's treatment is one of those times. There is no way of estimating the sum total of his compensatory and punitive damages, but I hope he takes Untied to the cleaners.