The boss of United Airlines was defiant over an incident that saw a passenger dragged off a plane in a leaked memo to employees. Oscar Munoz wrote to staff after footage emerged of the moment the traveller was forcibly removed from the overbooked flight after refusing to give up his seat. In the letter, seen by Reuters, Mr Munoz did not apologise for the way the passenger was handled, instead claiming he had “defied” security officers. He wrote: “We sought volunteers and then followed our involuntary denial of boarding process (including offering up to $1,000 in compensation).
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.
Oscar Munoz, United Airlines boss
The Chicago Department of Aviation said one of its officers had not followed protocol and had been placed on leave pending a review of his actions. Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was preparing for take-off at O'Hare International Airport when cabin crew informed the passengers that the flight was overbooked. The crew asked four passengers to free up space for staff who needed to be at work the following day. As no-one offered to give up their seat, the airline choose four passengers at random. The man who was selected refused to leave, prompting airport security guards to remove him from the plane. A video of the incident shows the man screaming as his seatbelt is unbuckled and he is pulled from his seat by three guards. He appears to hit his face on the adjacent seat, before he is seen being dragged down the aisle by his arms.
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.