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Full Timeline Of United Airlines' 'Overbooking' Controversy

Juliana Rose Pignataro
A look back at the incident shows how the airline got in such hot water so quickly.

United Airlines disastrous "overbooking" nightmare began just a few days ago- but the company managed to pack in a whole lot of controversy in such a short time. A full look at the company's public relations fiasco shows how the situation escalated and where the airline stands now.

Sunday, April 9: A 69-year-old doctor named David Dao was forcibly removed from United Airlines Express Flight 3411, bound from Chicago to Louisville. Video emerged of aviation security officers dragging Dao, who is screaming and bloody, down the aisle of the aircraft by his arms. Fellow passengers could be heard shouting at the officers to stop. United Airlines said it randomly selected Dao — along with three other passengers, who left without incident — after nobody volunteered to de-plane in order to make room for three company employees who needed seats. Passengers who witnessed the incident said Dao explained to officers and crew that he had to work at a hospital the next day and so couldn't leave the plane.

Monday, April 10: United Airlines issued its first response to the incident on Flight 3411 via Twitter. "This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers," said CEO Oscar Munoz in the statement. "Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened. We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation."

Read: United Airlines Dragging Passenger Off Plane Was Illegal- Here's Why

Monday, April 10:  The internet went wild over Munoz's use of the word "re-accommodate." Jimmy Kimmel slammed the airline during a segment on his show. "Just like we re-accommodated' El-Chapo out of Mexico," the comedian joked.

Monday, April 10: One aviation officer involved in the incident was placed on leave.

Monday, April 10: A letter obtained by CNBC in which Munoz addressed his employees about the incident seemed to blame the passenger for what happened. The CEO called him "disruptive and belligerent," and said he left agents "no choice but to call aviation security officers" to remove him.

Tuesday, April 11: Social media erupted with mockery of the company. #NewUnitedAirlinesMottos began trending on Twitter, spawning some creative new slogans for the embattled company.

Tuesday, April 11: Munoz issued yet another statement regarding the incident in which he took “full responsibility” and pledged to "make it right." The company said they would conduct a review to be completed by April 30.

Tuesday, April 11: Shares of United Continental Holdings, Inc. plunged nearly seven percent in the wake of the company’s public relations nightmare.

Read: Full United Airlines CEO's Response To Employees Blaming Passenger

Wednesday, April 12: Rival airlines took advantage of the United fiasco by trolling the company with advertisements and tweets. Emirates Airlines poked fun at United’s "Fly the friendly skies" slogan, while Royal Jordanian released a play on a no-smoking sign that said the company doesn’t allow "drags" on its flights.

Wednesday, April 12: Two more aviation officers involved in the incident were put on leave, bringing a total of three officers placed on leave.

Wednesday, April 12: Dao filed a "bill of discovery" against United Airlines in court, calling for all evidence including surveillance videos, passenger and crew lists, incident reports and cockpit voice recordings to be "preserved and protected."

Wednesday, April 12: Additional video emerged of Dao moments before he was forcibly removed from the plane. The passenger could be heard speaking with officers, telling them that he had to be at work the next day. "Let them try to use force," he was heard saying. "I make a lawsuit against United Airlines." 

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