United CEO Oscar Munoz has doubled down on his airline crew’s decision to remove an elderly passenger, claiming he was ‘disruptive and belligerent’.
“This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United,” United CEO Oscar Munoz said in a statement Monday. “I apologize 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.”
A video posted on Facebook on Sunday evening showed security pulling a passenger from his seat and dragging him through the aisle of the United Airlines, Louisville-bound plane before take-off at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport. In the video, posted by passenger Audra Bridges, the man could be heard screaming as a security official pulled him from his seat.
The man claimed he was a doctor who needed to return to his patients at the hospital Monday morning, according to the video.
The video sparked outrage online, as some people vowed never to fly United again following the incident.
A spokesperson for United confirmed the incident in a statement Monday morning.
“Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked. After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate,” the statement said.” We apologize for the overbook situation.”
Bridges, the passenger on the plane, told the Courier-Journal United announced the flight was overbooked before take-off, and offered $400 and a free hotel stay for one volunteer. No one volunteered for the deal, even after United offered $800.
Once boarded, passengers were told four people needed to volunteer to switch to a Monday afternoon flight instead to make way for four United employees who needed to return to Louisville for a flight, Bridges said. United then randomly selected passengers — one of which was the man who refused to leave his seat.United Airlines came under fire in March after two girls were barred from boarding a plane for wearing leggings — which did not comply with the company’s dress code for special pass travelers.