Chrysta Castañeda recently appeared on WFTL 850 discussing the passenger who was forcibly removed from United Airlines. Below is an excerpt from the full interview.
Q. The CEO of United has now claimed full responsibility for what happened on the flight. Reversing the company’s initial response response.
Yes, he has finally woken up to the need to go with a different message than they originally went with.
Q.Well their stock is plummeting, what would you tell United to do about this situation, what they’re doing today?
Unfortunately this is the move they should have made initially, someone should have realized that there was likely to be video, and there needed to be a response to this particular situation that was different than, “We’re sorry we had to re-accommodate this passenger.”
Q. Re-accommodate? What does that mean?
I guess it means drag somebody off the plane, which is kind of an insulting word to use in the context of what was actually happening on this particular flight.
Q.Yes but according to TMZ, Dr. David Dao was indicted and convicted in 2005 on 98 Felony drug counts, illegally prescribing and trafficking pain killers, he has his license back now and everything, but he was trafficking drugs for sex.
Well this is a very interesting turn, but how does that really impact the decision United made to force someone off the plane. If those criminal allegations were true would the situation really be any different? I understand we think this guy may be a bad guy; I haven’t seen indication that he was displaying bad behavior on the plane, but even so from a PR perspective, that’s not something you’re going to know when you’re making the decision to treat a passenger this way.
Q. So what are the rules? I believe that United was well within their rights to ask people to get off the plane, but they should have maybe upped the compensation and not just physically remove them?
In general, what are called common carriers have the right to remove passengers from the plane or ask them to be reassigned to another flight if they’re over sold. There’s an interesting issue beginning to evolve though, and that’s the question as to whether the flight was actually oversold. Remember that the reason they took passengers off the plane was that they needed to accommodate a flight crew that needed to reach a different destination. There’s a question being raised right now as to whether that counts as being oversold.