- The Washington Times - Monday, April 17, 2017

“Dirty Jobs” host Mike Rowe told nearly 5 million Facebook fans on Monday that he is “terrified” of flying with United Airlines — but not for the reasons they might think — after passenger Dr. David Dao was pulled off a recent flight.

United Express Flight 3411 became infamous on April 9 when cellphone video captured authorities pulling Dr. Dao off a flight from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky. The airlines needed to make room for four crew members, but the 69-year-old refused to leave his seat after being chosen at random.

Mr. Rowe of “Dirty Jobs” and “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” fame said that United CEO Oscar Munoz’s statements on the ordeal may make flying more dangerous.

“I watched a tape of United’s CEO, Oscar Munoz, as he attempted to walk back some earlier comments. He told ABC news that the passenger in question — David Dao — ‘did nothing wrong,’ ” Mr. Rowe said.

“Now, I’m no longer disturbed, Donna. I’m merely terrified,” Mr. Rowe explained on a Facebook post to Donna Johnson. “Oscar certainly didn’t blame the victim. But in the process of finding him blameless, he suggested that millions of passengers are under no obligation to follow a direct command from United employees. And that’s a hell of a lot more disturbing than a beat-down in the main cabin.”

Mr. Munoz told ABC’s “Nightline” on April 12 when asked if Dr. Dao was at fault in any way: “No, he can’t be. He was a paying passenger on our seat in our aircraft, and no one should be treated that way — period.”

Attorneys for Dr. Dao said last week that they plan on suing the airline for injuries sustained during the altercation with officers from Chicago’s Aviation Department.

Mr. Rowe said the airlines could have handled the situation better, but it should never create an incentive for future passengers to ignore lawful commands.

“The facts are clear: If you want to travel by air, you must agree to do what you’re told,” Mr. Rowe said. “If you don’t, you subject yourself to fine, arrest, constraint, forcible removal, and/or a permanent ban from the friendly skies. It’s all there in the fine print.”

“Personally, I support this policy. I support it because I don’t want to fly across the country in a steel tube filled with people who get to decide which rules they will follow and which they will ignore,” the television host continued.

“I’ve been on too many flights with too many angry people to worry about the specific circumstances of their outrage, or the details of why they took it upon themselves to ignore a direct command. A plane is not a democracy, and the main cabin is no place to organize a sit-in. The main cabin is a place to follow orders,” he concluded.

United Airlines issued a statement on April 13 saying that it will “not ask law enforcement officers to remove passengers from our flights unless it is a matter of safety and security.”

“This can never, will never happen again,” Mr. Munoz told “Nightline.”

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