How to flunk public relations:
• Overbook your flight by four seats.
• Instead of taking care of it in the terminal, wait until everyone is seated on the plane.
• Offer $800 for anyone volunteering to be bumped. When there are no takers, don't increase the incentive. Arbitrarily select four passengers to be involuntarily bumped.
• When the fourth refuses to follow the example of the other three who leave the plane, bring in local thug cops to drag him off forcibly, giving him a concussion and knocking out two of his teeth in the process.
• Stubbornly stand by your employees for two days, insisting that the passenger was obnoxious and belligerent.
• Watch your stock tank and your company face worldwide ridicule and scorn.
If you made a list of everything an airline should not do in a case like this, the experts say, you'll see that United Airlines hit every item on the list. That it took United CEO Oscar Munoz to finally apologize for the airline's treatment of Dr. David Dao will just add some zeros to the doctor's planned lawsuits against the airline and the city of Chicago.
Dr. Dao this week became the poster child for the mistreatment passengers suffer at the hands of the airline industry. The public is completely at the industry's mercy, and those in the industry know it and behave accordingly.
“It took something like this to get a conversation going,” Dao's attorney, Thomas Demetrio, said at a news conference Thursday.