United Airlines CEO has apologized for “having to re-accommodate” a few customers from an overbooked Sunday flight after a video showing a passenger dragged out of the plane went viral.
The 30-second video shows a 69-year-old man being forced out of his seat and dragged out of the plane by police officers. Tyler Bridges, a passenger on the 3411 flight said United asked for volunteers on the gate to take a later flight for cash remuneration and hotel stay, but no one took the offer. After boarding, passengers were told four people would be randomly selected by computer to leave the aircraft. “We almost felt like we were being taken hostage,” Bridges said. “We were stuck there. You can’t do anything as a traveller. You’re relying on the airline.”
Bridges said when the man in the video was selected and approached, he rejected to leave, saying he was a doctor who needed to see patients in the morning. “He was resisting any way he could,” Bridges said. “He was flailing his arms a little bit and yelling.”
A picture of the man with bloodied face also emerged, sparking outrage.
— ResultCare (@ResultCare) April 10, 2017
— Kaylyn Davis (@kaylyn_davis) April 10, 2017
United spokesman Charlie Hobart said the man was the only person who refused to move, and insisted police assistance was justified. “We followed the right procedures,” said Hobart.
United CEO Oscar Munoz has apologized on Twitter for “having to re-accommodate” the passengers, and said the company is now contacting them to resolve the issues.
United CEO response to United Express Flight 3411. pic.twitter.com/rF5gNIvVd0
— United (@united) April 10, 2017
Netizens have condemned the airline for going against its promise to “Fly the Friendly Skies”.
@united "Re-accommodate!" You assaulted a paying customer, knocked him out and dragged him off a plane.
— Jon Spaihts (@jonspaihts) April 10, 2017
— David Leopold (@DavidLeopold) April 11, 2017
— Em M (@EmMNYC17) April 10, 2017