U/A and Dr. Dao (2017)

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Let'sgoflying!, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    That would be the second time, though. The first was before the incident. So it shouldn't have been there in the first place:

    Under pointed questioning at a City Council hearing two weeks ago, Evans [Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner] acknowledged that she ordered the word “police” removed from uniforms worn by aviation security officers in January [2017], but the order was never enforced.

    The incident occurred in April 2017—four months later.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
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  2. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Line Up and Wait

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    Interesting history, thanks. So does anyone know whether UA policies called for calling security vs the police at that time? (I imagine they did not make such a subtle distinction). BTW, that link is broken, from this end anyway.
     
  3. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    I think it's fixed now.
     
  4. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    You couldn’t be more wrong in the conclusions you have drawn about me. Notice I didn’t say assumptions... you are basing a broad evaluation of my character on a very small piece of information from a single data point. That generally leads to incorrect conclusions.
    My evaluation of this incident is based on my experience as a former law enforcement officer and current airline captain.
    So it’s not just about how I feel. The rest of you in my opinion are “outraged” and basing your positions on emotional bs. But go ahead and have whatever opinion you want. If you make decisions like the good doc you’ll get the same as him most likely. And it will be your fault. I don’t expect nor do I care if you agree with me. You can think whatever you want about me being bullheaded. Like I said. Doesn’t change the reality of the world we live in...
     
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  5. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    He refused a lawful instruction from law enforcement to get off the airplane. His choices at that point are on him. He went all in when he should have folded.
     
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  6. PeterNSteinmetz

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    Per dmspilot's post above, they apparently were not actually supposed to be wearing uniforms saying they were police. Were they law enforcement then? And were their orders lawful?

    But back to my other question, do you think a person deserves to be physically treated as Dr. Dao was for refusing to obey a lawful order? Or should more de-escalatory approaches have been used? The police are the professionals at dealing with this type of situation, which I imagine was quite foreign to Dr. Dao. This response appears to convey a position of 'you deserve whatever beating and level of force the police administer if you refuse to unquestioningly obey them". Is that your position? Or perhaps that is not what was meant?

    Also, what about the case where people are giving an unlawful command? That may have been the case here if these people were not actually police. In such a situation, does the person deserve whatever beating is administered to them by people falsely claiming to be police because that person failed to immediately obey?

    Given what dmspilot has pointed out, this was a complex situation.
     
  7. TCABM

    TCABM Cleared for Takeoff

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  8. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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  9. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    I’m going to have to sit down at a keyboard to reply... back in a few to edit
     
  10. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Line Up and Wait

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  11. TCABM

    TCABM Cleared for Takeoff

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  12. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Lots of 20/20 hindsight in this discussion.

    I think part of the problem was that large numbers of people were unaware that, under the terms of the contract of carriage, passengers who were already seated could be ordered to get off the airplane. Some of them may have been confused by the use of the term "denied boarding" to include that situation (although in reality, few people read contracts of carriage).

    In any case, it was Rebublic's airplane, not Dr. Dao's. Once he was ordered to get off and refused to do so, he became a trespasser. The use of excessive force was no more foreseeable than if you called the police to remove a trespasser from your home.

    If someone refused to get off your personal airplane, what would you do? If you called the police, would you be to blame if the police used excessive force?
     
  13. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'm sure it never occurred to them that there was a difference. They called law enforcement for the airport.
     
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  14. PeterNSteinmetz

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    Agreed Dr. Dao did become a trespasser. I think the analogy to the home is not quite right. A home is a rather protected space in legal terms. Similarly for a personal plane vs a commercial one. On a commercial airplane where seats are offered to the public for a fee, people have a different set of expectations.

    My point is, as noted above, people should expect that when they call the police violence may ensue. A lot of people (perhaps including these UA personnel) do not factor that into their decision making. But the police are in the use of force business and that should be borne in mind. If someone is invading your home, it is probably a good decision to defend it with force if need be. If someone is otherwise peacefully trespassing on your publicly accessible commercial property, other alternatives may be better choices.

    UA had other alternatives (ask some other passenger to leave or deny boarding to the employees) which a reasonable person would expect to be less likely to result in a violent confrontation than calling the police. And UA has changed their policy subsequently, I believe, to not be calling the police for this type of dispute. I applaud them for realizing that. Too bad they didn't realize it earlier. They paid for their mistake.
     
  15. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Cleared for Takeoff

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    I disagree.

    People call the police so that violence does not ensue. Hence the recommendations against taking the law into your own hands.
     
  16. PeterNSteinmetz

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    Good advice if dealing with an already violent situation for sure. In other circumstances I guess technically this is some sort of Bayesian calculation of the prior probability of violence and the likelihood of violence after the police are called.

    The book "The Rise of the Warrior Cop" goes into some of this in terms of how the police are becoming more violent over time. So our subjective impressions formed when young might not be accurate anymore.
     
  17. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Canis Non Grata
    Decide to go somewhere.
    Make an airline reservation.
    Pay for the flight.
    Make hotel reservation.
    Pay for hotel.
    Reserve rental car.
    Hold mail set up.
    Pet sitter arranged.
    Pack your bags.
    Drive to airport.
    Find a place to park.
    Drag bag inside terminal.
    Check bag, possibly.
    Go through TSA behind some idiot who takes forever to get his stuff onto the x-ray machine.
    Take off your shoes, belt, unload your laptop, etc.
    Go through scanner.
    Gather all of your stuff up after the idiot finally does the same.
    Walk to gate, possibly dragging bag, dodging all of the idiots who either don't watch where they are going or are just standing in the middle of the walkway.
    Find a seat and try to relax for a few minutes before boarding.
    Wait for your group to board.
    Board plane behind some idiot who doesn't know how to board quickly and get his butt in seat.
    Put your bag away.
    Take your assigned seat.
    Buckle up.
    Whew! Made it!!
    Time to relax.
    ....
    Huh? Say what?
    No way!
    Ouch!


    The airline and the cops fail to understand this.
     
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  18. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Line Up and Wait

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    Much nicer to decide to go somewhere, pack, drive to your plane, load bags, preflight and take-off. :)
     
  19. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    People's expectations don't necessarily coincide with what's right and what's wrong. Since you acknowledge that Dr. Dao became a trespasser, the logical consequence of what you're saying is that it's OK to ask for enforcement of the law against trespassing in a home or personal airplane, but not in a commercial setting.

    These conclusions may seem obvious after the Dao incident, for public relations reasons if nothing else. They weren't obvious before it.

    If airport security personnel at O'Hare had a previous track record of using excessive force and the airline knew it, then I would be right with you in condemning the airline's actions. So far no one has presented evidence of that as far as I know.
     
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  20. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Line Up and Wait

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    I don’t know that I would go that far. I would just say one should try other alternatives, if available, before bringing in the violence associated with LEOs when dealing with an otherwise peaceful contract dispute in a public setting.

    UA had alternatives and has actually changed their policies to prefer those now.

    Was UA within it’s legal rights to call the police - certainly. Was it wise? I would submit no. Was it a good way to treat customers - I think not.

    It would have been interesting to see the legal parsing if the case had gone to trial, but it was settled.
     
  21. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Line Up and Wait

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    I would agree they weren’t obvious to UA before the incident and probably not to many others. That is one of the points I was trying to emphasize:

    If you call in LE you are asking for them to come and use violence to enforce their interpretation of the law, if cooperation isn’t forthcoming. Just be sure that is what you really want and that you are willing to have the attendant risks of them using excessive force - which are on the rise. Sometimes that is necessary - just be sure that is what you want. Don’t assume there is negligible risk of the use of excessive force because you may get excessive firepower applied.
     
  22. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    The airlines have a strong history of treating customers like **** in general, so no big deal there.
     
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  23. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Line Up and Wait

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  24. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Line Up and Wait

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    Highly regulated markets often end up like that. The players in the industry being regulated are able to control the regulators and manipulate the situation to their advantage and to the detriment of the consumer. Classic regulatory capture.
     
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  25. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

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    Thank god it's "former".

    We are not "outraged" due to emotional BS. People have simply had enough of the attitude that is displayed by you and often airlines as a whole that the passengers are an annoyance who should simply shut up and do whatever unreasonable things that their "superiors" demand of them.

    If you choose to hold your customers in contempt, don't be surprised when they stop bowing down to you. Airlines are not special, they're public transport, despite their delusions of grandeur.

    Any reasonable person can see why the actions of United and law enforcement here were complete BS. Those who are arguing that he "got what was coming to him" have entirely lost touch with reality.
     
  26. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

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    If I had sold them a seat, and led them to believe that I could be relied on to get them to their destination; then I wouldn't be arrogant enough to try and kick them off in the first place.
     
  27. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    ...and you can’t actually force them to read the terms and conditions that they agreed to by buying their ticket, so those certainly can’t be enforced.
     
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  28. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Line Up and Wait

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    This where actual adjudication of the case would have been quite interesting.

    These type of terms, such as the airline can take you off the plane for reasons having nothing to do with your own behavior, and which tend to run contrary to a commonplace understanding of what is happening, namely buying a ticket to get on the plane and go somewhere, are often found to be not enforceable. Particularly when they are printed in very small print in obscure places and placed in the contract by the drafter who is in a much stronger negotiating position.
     
  29. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    You mean obscure places like “click here to verify you’ve read this stuff”?
     
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  30. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Line Up and Wait

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    No, I mean like what paragraph number out of how many pages? I believe the courts have often found that it is not reasonable to expect consumers to read through 5 pages of legal mumbo jumbo when making an online purchase.

    These things have been adjudicated in a variety of ways. It would have been interesting to see how it turned out in that case.

    I suppose if people really want to discuss that one could go and find the terms and conditions in effect at the time of Dr. Dao’s purchase and see exactly the location and language that purportedly allowed the airline to pull him off. I’ll read it if someone pulls it up, but don’t personally have the time to do so.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
  31. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Line Up and Wait

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    More generally of course it clearly was UA’s airplane and from that perspective he was pretty clearly trespassing. There is also the announcement on every flight that you have to follow crew member instructions per Federal law. I don’t know what he was thinking honestly refusing to do so. But that has not been my primary point in this thread.
     
  32. Larry in TN

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    That's probably true when it was the business that wrote the terms. In this case, the oversale procedures are codified by federal regulations. 14 CFR 250. The court would have to find the federal regulations unenforceable.

    The DoT investigated the Dao incident and found two minor violations. The first was another passenger who accepted the voluntary denied boarding offer but was not initially given the correct amount(*1). That was corrected within a week of the incident. The second was that the Dao's, after being involuntarily denied boarding, were not given the required written documentation. The DoT determined that this was likely due to Dr. Dao being under the control of the security officers, under the care of the paramedics, and was quickly taken away for further medical care. The DoT found that Dr. Dao was properly selected as the passenger to be bumped under 14 CFR 250 and the airline's contract of carriage.

    *1 - This passenger was given the amount agreed to and left. After that, the offer amount was raised and all passengers who volunteer are to be paid the highest offer even if they agree to volunteer when the offer is at a lower level.
     
  33. PeterNSteinmetz

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    Just looked at 14 CFR 250. It covers what is to happen in terms of compensation etc. in an oversale situation. But does it provide the legal authority to forcibly remove someone? I didn’t see that there.

    I think that authority must stem from the law of trespass. Particularly if nothing in the terms and conditions agreed to deal with it either.
     
  34. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Cleared for Takeoff

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    If the business does not have the legal right to remove a customer then why did law enforcement remove him?
     
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  35. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Line Up and Wait

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    I did not mean to imply the business does not have such a right, I am curious what exact legal justification they had in this case? I assume there is one stemming from the law of trespass.

    It is complicated because as noted by dmspilot above, the people who did this were not supposed to be wearing uniforms stating they were police. So were they LEOs actually? If they weren’t, then they may have been acting illegally in their removal.

    Also, I would not always assume that if LEOs arrest or remove someone, that means the person was legally wrong. LEOs make mistakes on that sort of thing with reasonable frequency. It is not a bad first assumption LEOs are legally correct, but one that should be scrutinized in more controversial cases.
     
  36. Larry in TN

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    Their justification was that he was appropriately selected for IDB in accordance with 14 CFR 250. They asked him to deplane and he persistently refused. He had no legal right to refuse to deplane. If he believed that he was being asked to deplane improperly then that's a civil contract matter to be handled later. The DoT later determined that he was selected properly.

    That's true, but it's not an excuse to refuse to follow their directive to leave. If they are wrong, you can address that later.

    Since this incident, most airlines have decided that this isn't how they want to conduct business and have changed their procedures but that doesn't change our discussion regarding the legal aspects of the situation. Similar situations had played out peacefully thousands of times in the decades since 14 CFR 250 was enacted, even those where police were called.
     
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  37. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Why out of 200 ish passengers was HE "correctly" selected and not the person next to him or 5 rows back or 2 rows up. When he said no why didn't they just "correctly" find someone else? Of all the people on the plane he was the ONLY one that could be selected?

    Not buying it.


    Someone refuses, just pick someone else.
     
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  38. PeterNSteinmetz

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    In general I agree. There are some fine points here though which is what I’m trying to understand. I’m pretty sure you are not under a legal obligation to follow an illegal command given by an LEO. And certainly are not under a legal obligation to obey a command given by someone impersonating an LEO.

    So if these people were not LEOs, he was under no legal obligation to obey them. Thus that would have been a “valid excuse” not to obey them. I don’t think Dr. Dao would have known that however.

    If they were LEOs, he probably was under a legal obligation, derived from trespass law, to obey them. Similarly with the commands he was probably given by a proper agent of the airline. But that authority is not derived from the CFR about compensation in oversold situations.

    I suppose it is possible that the combination of the regs and statutes might not actually legally permit the forcible removal of a passenger, so I would have been curious to see it parsed more precisely.

    And in general it is very risky, both legally and in terms of physical injury, to fail to obey the commands of an LEO, lawful or not. Generally best to follow them and sort it out later in court, unless there is extreme immediate risk of serious physical injury or death. A lot of people get hurt that way.
     
  39. PeterNSteinmetz

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    Some of that dealt with earlier in terms of selection rules etc.

    But this is one of my main points. There were more peaceful alternatives to trying to force him off the plane. As Larry in TN had noted, that is probably why most airlines have decided to deal with in other ways.
     
  40. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    He probably bought the lowest fare. They’re going to kick off the lowest fare person rather than one of their frequent flyers