The Treatment from Airlines

Dr. David Dao’s removal from a United Express plane sparks many questions about airline treatment. How did airlines treat customers in the past?

Darren Tung, Staff Writer

Dr. David Dao was forcibly dragged out of a United Express flight from Chicago to Louisville on April 9th. He was offered $1350 and an overnight stay, but declined due to patients he had to see. The video showing his removal has gone viral throughout this week, and he is currently in the process of filing a lawsuit against the airline for unfair treatment; he suffered a concussion and broke several bones. The CEO of United has also been attacked with resignation threats. However, it wasn’t always this way.

Once upon a time, flying on a plane was the epitome of luxury. During what is now called the “Golden Age of Aviation,” flights were characterized by excellent food, massive amounts of legroom, and most importantly, extremely efficient service from flight attendants: called stewardesses at the time. Even though the Golden Age also saw countless crashes, boredom aboard, high prices, and stenches from cigarette smoke, most would view the 50s and 60s as “better times” to fly.

Now compare this to the world of today. Ever since 9/11, security around airports was beefed up significantly, making the previous days of getting on a plane with just a ticket an afterthought. However, even before 9/11, the quality of air travel gradually went down, specifically with the introduction of widebody (two aisle) aircraft in the early 70s. Widebodies, more commonly known as Jumbos, reduced seat per mile costs fourfold. This in turn marked the beginning of a new generation of affordable air travel when legroom, food quality, service, ambience, etc, all went down to cater to a much larger crowd.

The United incident is rock bottom on the scale for airline treatment. It represents how the airline failed to treat its passengers with the rights of the U.S Constitution in mind. It also represents how the mighty times of aviation have fallen. What is strange for this incident, however, is that there is no popular hashtag being spread around the internet for Dao’s unfair treatment. As such, #makeaviationgreatagain.