United Airlines faces social media backlash after passenger dragged off overbooked flight

11 April 2017, 12:05 PM
United Airlines - File Photo (getty)
United Airlines - File Photo (getty)

United Airlines was lamented across social media on Monday for the inhuman treatment rendered by the US carrier to its passenger, who was physically dragged off a plane the airline had overbooked.

One of the security officers involved in the incident was placed on leave pending an investigation.

Videos posted online by other passengers showed a man yelling as officers yanked him from his seat on United Flight 3411 before it departed from Chicago O'Hare International Airport to Louisville, Kentucky, on Sunday.

The man, who appeared to be Asian, was seen being dragged down the aisle on his back by his hands, body limp, bleeding from the mouth, glasses askew and shirt pulled up above his navel. The videos sparked outrage on social media, the second time in less than a month that United was criticised for its treatment of passengers.

In a letter circulated to employees and seen by Reuters, United Chief Executive Officer Oscar Munoz did not apologize for the way the passenger was handled, writing that the passenger had "defied" security officers.

Munoz said there are lessons the company can learn from this situation, though he impressed that he "emphatically" stands behind his employees.

"We sought volunteers and then followed our involuntary denial of boarding process (including offering up to $1,000 in compensation)," Munoz wrote. "When we approached one of these passengers to explain apologetically that he was being denied boarding, he raised his voice and refused to comply with crew member instructions."

First Published: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 11:36 AM

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