Photo courtesy: DolanChristieTaglia, Twitter
Dr. David Dao’s family and Dao’s attorneys spoke out this morning at a Chicago news conference about Dao’s removal from United Express Flight 3411 on Sunday night. The plane at Chicago O’Hare International Airport was bound for Louisville, Kentucky. A Chicago Aviation police officer dragged the Vietnamese doctor from his seat and down the plane’s aisle after Dao refused to give up his plane seat to accommodate one of 4 United crew members flying on the overbooked plane to work the next day on various flights. Video of the harsh passenger treatment went viral and sparked outrage nationwide and internationally and apologies from United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz.
“On behalf of my dad and entire family, we’d like to express out gratitude of the huge outpouring of prayer, love and concern from all over the world these past two days. We also want to thank the physicians, the nurses and all the hospital staff for taking care of my dad. It’s been a very difficult time for our entire family especially my dad. We are truly grateful for your support.” said Crystal Dao Pepper, Dr. Dao’s daughter.
“What happened to my dad should never have happened to any human being, regardless of the circumstances. We were horrified, shocked and sickened to see what had happened to him. We hope in the future nothing like this will happen again. Thank you so much for your support,” said Pepper. Pepper confirmed her father was Vietnamese and that he escaped Vietnam in 1975 when the Vietnam War ended.
Her father, who is 69 years old, suffered a significant concussion, a broken nose, two knocked out teeth and sinus injuries that require reconstructive surgery, according to Thomas Demetrio, Dr. Dao’s attorney. Demetrio also said Dr. Dao has been released from the hospital. Chicago attorney Steven Golan also is part of Dao’s legal team.
“The fact of the matter is that for a long time airlines, United in particular, have bullied us,” said Demetrio after receiving hundreds of phone calls and emails from United employees, former employees and hearing tales of passenger mistreatment.
“Will there be a lawsuit? Yeah, probably,” said Demetrio.
“Dr. Dao has come to understand that he’s the guy. He’s the guy to stand up for passengers. He’s going forward,” Demetrio said of the planned lawsuit and described Dr. Dao as the “Asian Rosa Parks.”
Demetrio said Dao’s Asian heritage nor race were factors in this case. Demetrio suggested airlines keep some seats open when they must fly employees to their jobs at the last moment.
“Maybe airlines need to expect the unexpected…..But not at the expense, certainly not at the physical expense of its paying passengers,” Demetrio said.