Do We Have the Right to Stay?

June 26, 2017

Earlier this year, United Airlines topped the headlines in what can only be seen as a case of corporate greed and a blatant disregard for civil rights. To optimize profits, airlines deliberately overbook flights, hedging on the fact that a few passengers will end up never showing up at the gate at their designated flight time. The flaw with this business model, of course, is that when all the passengers do end up showing up, a few will have no seat on the plane and will be forced off. This was exactly the case with United Airlines and David Dao, a physician from Kentucky who was on his way back home to see his Monday morning patients. Dr. Dao refused to leave his seat, and after a few minutes of verbal altercation, law enforcement dragged Dr. Dao forcibly off the plane. The media reacted with outrage.

What if this were to happen to us? Do we have to have our rights forcibly taken away when mistakes are made on behalf of corporate giants? The sad reality is that Dr. Dao is only one of countless airlines customers who’ve been forcibly removed from their rightful seat as a result of a flawed business strategy. Sure, many of these passengers receive monetary compensation to make up for the inconvenience, but who is to say that money can make up for everyone’s lost time equally. Is the time of a physician who needs to tend to his patients worth the same value as a family returning from their Christmas vacation? Even before we begin questioning the ethicality of United Airline’s business plan, we need to start by asking whether individual consumers should even be allowed to be victimized in such a manner that not only inconveniences but also publically humiliates them.

<Jisoo Ku , 9th, Jserra Catholic High School>

One Comment

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