April 13, 2017
Contact: Jason Tengco, NaFFAA Executive Director
Tel. 650-867-9837

         NaFFAA’s Response to United Airlines Passenger Removal

Washington, DC – The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) was disappointed by the conduct exhibited by Chicago aviation security officers by removing a passenger from United Airlines flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville.

Security officers not only forcibly pulled David Dao, a 69-year-old Asian doctor, out of his seat, but inhumanely dragged him down the aisle to the exit. His face was bruised and bloodied, and he appeared visibly shaken by the incident. NaFFAA believes that no human deserves to be unfairly targeted, or experience such treatment during any travel, especially when the use of violence can be avoided.

NaFFAA also reaffirms its commitment to raising awareness around legal rights and protections, especially for Filipino Americans and immigrant communities.  Filipinos and Filipino Americans are among the most frequent air passengers. According to Visa, Inc., Filipinos spent approximately $10 billion dollars in airline expenses in 2015.  Consequently, the Filipino American community stresses air safety and passenger dignity for all travelers.

In his original tone-deaf apology, United Airlines’ CEO Oscar Munoz failed to acknowledge the violence and stood behind its corporate policies. Contrary to actual video footage, Mr. Munoz categorized Dr. Dao as “disruptive” and “belligerent.”  Initially, Mr. Munoz appeared to shift all responsibility to the paid passenger.

“The use of unnecessary violence is inexcusable, and all passengers should be given the respect and safety that they deserve from any airline” said Brendan Flores, NaFFAA National Chairman.  “We strongly urge the Department of Transportation to revisit its standards and regulations surrounding the training of aviation employees and contractors charged with the well-being and security of passengers. The use of force should always be the last resort.”  

Unfortunately, United Airlines had other options to defuse the overbooking situation, but regrettably declined. The Chicago Aviation Department confirmed that the “incident on United flight 3411 was not in accordance with our standard operating procedure and the actions of the aviation security officer are obviously not condoned by the Department.”  NaFFAA supports calls for Congress and the Department of Transportation to determine better approaches for interacting with passengers and avoiding acrimonious boarding situations like the one Dr. Dao suffered.

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About NaFFAA

The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization. Established in 1997, NaFFAA has been the standard bearer for promoting the welfare and well-being of the 4 million Filipinos and Filipino Americans throughout the United States. NaFFAA is the largest national affiliation of Filipino American institutions, umbrella organizations, and individuals. Its thirteen-member regions cover the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and the Pacific Islands. NaFFAA’s vision is to serve as the voice of all Filipinos and Filipino Americans by uniting, engaging, and empowering diverse individuals and community organizations around three key areas: leadership development, civic engagement, and national advocacy.