23rd April 2018

United Airlines CEO sorry for ‘horrific’ passenger removal

By BBC News:

The CEO of United Airlines has apologised for the “truly horrific” removal of a passenger from an overbooked flight.

Oscar Munoz said he “continues to be disturbed” by the incident, during which a passenger was forcibly dragged, screaming, off a plane.

He said the company would “fix what’s broken so it never happens again”.

United’s parent company’s share price plummeted on Tuesday after a video of the incident went viral on Twitter.

Stock in United Continental Holdings dropped by more than 4% at one point on Tuesday, and at one point nearly $1bn (£800m) was wiped off its value – but share prices later recovered and were down just 1% when markets closed.

The footage taken inside the airliner shows a man being pulled out of his seat and dragged, screaming, down the aisle. He is later seen with blood on his face.


The flight from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky, on Sunday evening had been overbooked – a fairly common practice – so the airline wanted to get four passengers to leave the flight to make room for four staff members.

Image copyright Jayse D Anspach

Three passengers agreed and left the plane. But the man said he worked in a hospital, and needed to see his patients the next day, an eyewitness tweeted.

A video that appears to show him dazed and with blood around his mouth, saying “just kill me”, having run back on the plane, has also emerged online.

Earlier, Mr Munoz defended employees’ conduct and said the passenger had been “disruptive and belligerent”. Employees were “left with no choice but to call Chicago Aviation Security Officers to assist in removing the customer from the flight”, he added.

He came under intense criticism online and the incident reached the ears of the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, who called it “troubling”.

One of the aviation security officers involved in removing the man from the plane has been “placed on leave”, the Chicago Department of Aviation said, and his actions were “obviously not condoned by the Department”.

The department also said it would carry out a review into the incident, which it said was “not in accordance with our standard operating procedure”.

The US Department of Transportation is reviewing whether United complied with rules on overbooking.

The passenger who was removed from the plane has been identified in US media as David Dao, a medical doctor from Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

United earlier said it was trying to talk to him directly in order to “further address and resolve this situation”.

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