Asians in US join uproar over United Airlines incident

Connie Macatula-De Leon, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Apr 13 2017 09:25 PM | Updated as of Apr 13 2017 11:11 PM

CHICAGO - The Asian community here joined mounting outrage over how United Airlines dragged an Asian passenger out of an overbooked flight.

Video showing the ordeal of David Dao, a 69-year-old Vietnamese American doctor, has gone viral and the airline apologized for the incident.

Fifty-eight-year-old Rex Viejon, a former flight attendant supervisor for United Airlines, said he was embarrassed for the company.

“It is frustrating that it happened, and it should never happen [again]…They were trained to handle different situations. It’s not between life and death,” said Viejon.

Twitter and Facebook showed various opinions on several issues, from perceived ethnic bias against Asians, to United Airlines’ mishandling of the incident, to blaming the Chicago Department of Aviation, but most criticisms shared one common theme—people were upset with how the situation was handled.

In Chicago, the Asian community gathered at the O’Hare airport to show support for Dao.

“We know this is a product of a broader issue,” said Kristina Tendilla, an organizer for Asian Americans Advancing Justice in Chicago. 

“This is not just an Asian American issue, Vietnamese issue, or Chinese issue—this is an issue for all people. Recognize that brutalization and violence happens in many different communities,” she said.

Last month, United Airlines barred two teenage girls from boarding a flight, after the gate agent said the leggings they were wearing were inappropriate. A a 94-year-old Filipino was also allegedly mistreated.

A disabled grandmother was forced to endure a painful 16-hour flight from California to Australia, after the flight attendant allegedly refused to attend to her needs in business class.

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