Video of a limp Dr. David Dao getting dragged down the aisle of a United Airlines flight stunned most of the world. However, for some unlucky passengers, a terrible experience on United is nothing new.
First, there's the 94-year-old Australian woman who a United flight crew refused to accommodate. Paz Orquiza suffers from degenerative bone disease and severe arthritis, which is why her family sprung for a business class ticket when she traveled from LA to Australia. The upgrade cost her family nearly $4,000, yet it was a price they were willing to pay to ensure her comfort during the 16-hour flight.
When Orquiza’s daughter, Rose Benedicto, asked a flight crew member if she could periodically leave her seat in economy to assist her mother with food and her seat, her request was denied. Although Benedicto told the crew she was allowed to do this on her departing flight, this time she was told she’d have to either move her mother back to economy or buy another business class seat. The crew never offered to help her mother instead.
Orquiza was then transferred to an extremely uncomfortable economy class seat.
“My aunt tried to comfort my grandmother, who was in tears, and was horrified to see how much pain she had to endure during this flight,” wrote Oquiza’s granddaughter Marianne Santos Aguilar in a Facebook post. “Upon arrival to Australia, my grandma's legs had swollen, she suffered from a stiff neck and her whole body ached.”
Orquiza is not the only recent United passenger to have a less than optimal experience. A Canadian citizen traveling from Houston to Calgary was stung by a scorpion during his flight.
Richard Bell was eating lunch on his flight when he felt something fall from the overhead bin to his head. When he reached up, he was shocked to find a scorpion on his head. He placed the creature on his tray when he was stung.
"I picked it up, and it was a scorpion. And I was holding it out by the tail, so it couldn't really sting me then,” Bell told CBC. "So I dropped it on my plate and then I went to pick it up again, and that's when it stung me. It got my nail, mostly.”
Bell — who was flying with his wife, Linda — was transported to a hospital upon landing. They were both offered flying credit as compensation.
Stories like these are frequent for Jeremy Cooperstock, someone who has documented United's mishaps since 1996.
"When you look through media reports over the last decade or so, if there is an egregious incident, if there is a significant fine being levied, if there is a spike in statistics of complaints regarding one passenger issue or another, chances are far more than likely it’ll be United Airlines that’s the culprit," Cooperstock told BuzzFeed News.
The site which Cooperstock has used to blog about United is currently locked in a legal battle with the airline company. However, Cooperstock does believe the executive powers at United are to blame for most of their problems.
(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)