When did the friendly skies end and the Gestapo police state begin? For David Dao it ended when he took his seat on a United Express Flight 3411 at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on April 9, 2017.

Plane Planning

It’s not an uncommon practice for airlines to overbook flights. There are always a few stragglers, a few mind changers, and people who just live to be late.

The airlines prefer full planeloads in order to maximize profits.

So on that April day after David Dao boarded his flight with a paid for seat it was announced that the airline was looking for volunteers to give up their seats. Why? The airline had four employees who had to get to their next destination to serve passengers on another flight. So four people were getting off that plane one way or another.

The airline tried vouchers for $400, then $800, and finally as much as $1,000, plus free hotels stay for the night if necessary. If they didn’t get the volunteers needed then whoever was left would be randomly selected and forcibly removed — David Dao was the final selection.

When he refused to leave he was forcefully removed from his seat and dragged down the aisle through a gauntlet of amazed fellow passengers and cell phones recording the incident. (Source: New York Times Video)

Some Final Thoughts

I’ve been bumped from a few flights in my lifetime. I once got a free trip anywhere in the US for a year.

Usually there is always someone not in a major hurry. The secret is to not take the first offer. The closer it gets to takeoff the more they will usually offer.

In this case they should have selected people before they got on the plane, not after. Once you’re there you have a feeling that you’re home free.

Obviously not the case for David Dao who said he was a doctor who needed to see patients the following morning. As of this writing that hasn’t been confirmed.

Three other people reportedly got off the plane voluntarily but not the last one.

Tune in Friday at 8 a.m. and we’ll ask local Attorney Jennifer Bordy about the legalities of air travel.

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