United CEO apologises for “upsetting” passenger removal

United Airlines’ CEO, Oscar Munoz, has apologised for an incident that saw a passenger forcibly removed from one if its flights.

The incident, which went viral on social media after it was filmed on a fellow passenger’s mobile phone, involved a male passenger being dragged out of his seat and down the aisle after the flight was over-booked. This led to an outcry, firstly by his fellow passengers and later on social media, after the video was posted.

The passenger is filmed being dragged down the aisle. Click to watch the video
The passenger is filmed being dragged down the aisle. Click to watch the video

“This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United,” Munoz said. “I apologise for having to re-accommodate these customers. 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,” he added.

The incident occurred at Chicago O’Hare International Airport on Sunday, when certain passengers onboard the flight to Louisville, Kentucky, were asked to voluntarily leave the over-booked flight. When one man refused, officials decided to use force to remove him.

He was later filmed with a bloodied face, which Chicago police said was the result of him hitting his head on an armrest.

Over-booking a flight is not a rare occurrence, but airlines usually approach passengers before they board the aircraft and suggest re-booking them on other flights. Affected passengers are entitled to compensation.

Needless to say, the incident will be damaging to United’s reputation; on Twitter, a new hashtag, #NewUnitedAirlinesMottos, was trending on Tuesday, as users suggested mock airline slogans reflecting the incident. CLICK HERE to watch the incident.

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