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American Airlines staff hit a woman and baby with her stroller (pg2)

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Passenger dragged off overbooked United flight

By Christina Zdanowicz and Emanuella Grinberg, CNN

Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT) April 11, 2017


(CNN) — A man's refusal to give up his seat on an overbooked United Airlines flight led to a disturbing scene Sunday that has travelers up in arms over airline policies.

The Department of Transportation said it will review the incident, in which a passenger was forcibly removed from the Louisville, Kentucky-bound United flight 3411 at Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

The incident has prompted one security officer's suspension and created a publicity nightmare for United.

Several passengers recorded the incident on their phones and posted video on social media showing three Chicago Department of Aviation security officers dragging the man, who has not been identified, down the aisle by the arms and legs while other passengers shout in protest. He continued to resist after he was removed and ran back onto the airplane, face bloodied from the encounter.

"It was very traumatic," passenger Jade Kelley said. She did not witness the entire event but she said the sound of the screams still haunt her.

"It was horrible. I had trouble sleeping last night and hearing the video again gives me chills."

An 'involuntary de-boarding situation'

The incident sparked criticism of a system that allows airlines to involuntarily boot passengers from flights. United was acting within their rights and following policy. Then, the situation turned physical.

United asked passengers to give up their seats voluntarily for compensation. Four crew members needed to get on the flight in order to work another one in Louisville or else that flight would be canceled, airline spokeswoman Maddie King said.

When no one volunteered, the airline was forced into an "involuntary de-boarding situation," airline spokesman Charlie Hobart said.

United weighs a number of factors to determine which passengers would leave the flight, such as connecting flights and how long the delay will leave the customer at an airport, Hobart said.

United employees explained the situation to the man several times, Hobart said. When he refused they followed Department of Transportation protocol and called local law enforcement to forcibly remove him from the plane.

Passenger Tyler Bridges said the request for volunteers came after everyone had boarded. It was easy to understand why no one responded -- it was Sunday night and the next flight was not until the following afternoon, he said.

Bridges said two officers tried to calmly talk the man out of his seat before a third approached him in an aggressive manner. The officer told him he had to get off the plane, and when he resisted, the officer grabbed him out of his seat and carried him out with the other officers.

The man hit his head on an armrest, Bridges said. He yelled that he was a doctor and that he was being profiled for being Chinese. The scene left everyone unsettled, including children who started crying, Bridges said.

"It was pretty shocking that it got to the level that it got to. In part that's the man's fault, when the police came on he shouldn't have resisted, he should have just left. But it was a pretty unbelievable scene with them grabbing him and pulling off," he said.

Overbooking is not illegal, and most airlines do it in anticipation of no-shows, according to the US Department of Transportation. If no one volunteers, the airline can select passengers for removal based on criteria such as check-in time or the cost of a ticket, according to the US Department of Transportation's Fly-Rights.

In an internal memo, CEO Oscar Munoz said the crew members approached the gate agents after the flight was fully boarded and said they needed to board the flight. They sought volunteers before commencing "involuntary denial of boarding process," offering up to $1,000 in compensation.

When approached, the passenger "raised his voice and refused to comply with crew member instructions," Munoz said. He grew "more disruptive and belligerent" with each request, leaving agents with no choice to call security officers.

He continued to resist even after he was removed, running back into the plane, Munoz said. Passengers shot video of him with blood streaming down his face.

"Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this. While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right," he said.

"I do, however, believe there are lessons we can learn from this experience, and we are taking a close look at the circumstances surrounding this incident."

Munoz issue a statement calling the incident "upsetting" and apologized "for having to re-accommodate" 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,"

The Chicago Department of Aviation said in a statement that the incident "was not in accordance with our standard operating procedure and the actions of the aviation security officer are obviously not condoned by the Department."

That officer has been placed on leave effective today pending a review of the situation, the statement added.

The four crew members did indeed board the plane, and it wasn't pretty, Bridges said. Passengers berated them, told them they should be ashamed of themselves and embarrassed to work for this company.

"They just sat down quietly, it was super tense on the plane. Everyone was really unhappy after seeing this man pulled off," he said.

"I think United messed this up on the front end," Bridges added. "It shouldn't have gotten to the point where there's a man on the plane or four people on the plane that have to be removed after they've already taken their seat. If they were overbooked they should have only let people on the plane that were going to be able to leave on the plane."

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Apparently this passenger is a doctor and he told them that he needs to fly there to treat a patient.

I hope that patients is related to these airline staff or even the CEO.

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Very disgusting footage.

But I have to say, that my flights were overbooked twice. They offered the next flight plus 300 € as bonus.

I took twice this offer, since I hadnt any important business.

But why did they not put someone else out of the flght ?

This is not the first time that United flight comes negative in press.

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I wouldn't be surprised if they profiled him for being chinese, implying a possible racism case there. This man will have a field day in courts.

Anyway, the way they treated him is absurd and revolting! I hope he sues their ass off!

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Terrible thing

but its interesting how no one other in the flight offered their place instead....

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wow, i never thought this could happen. What an incredible uncomfortable situation for the airline, the workers, the passengers... But as @jaron has said, if they offer enouh compensation, some people would stay. I mean, there's one thing to have to go there to cure a patient and another to be some tourist or retired old couple who could use 300 dollars and a free hotel night very good. 

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I mean this is the perfect example how staff can do everything wrong while probably sticking too much to the guidelines of their company. First of all, why did they have to board all passengers and then asking passengers to leave. You do that before boarding. Communication has just been horrible. Bargaining about the money they pay for passengers to take another flight? Sorry, from my knowledge there is a law or something in the U.S.  that grants people an amount of around 1300 dollars in such cases. Furthermore there were 7 !!! other flights (nonstop and with a stop at another city) from Chicago to Louisville that evening. What about a car? Its like 300 miles. All they had to do was to communicate properly.

Regarding overbooking. Yes it might be uncomfortable. But it always depends on the airline. A few years ago my cousin had a flight with Iberia to New York via Madrid. That flight was overbooked. She, her husband and daughter were offered a flight 4 hours later. That was a direct flight with another airline. They got breakfast at the executive lounge while waiting and per person a voucher for EUR 800.00 for their next Iberia flight. Their flight landed in New York 30 minutes later than their original flight from Madrid. I have heard from other people being upgraded to business class on transatlantic flights. Ever since I secretly hope there is an overbooking on my flights.

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:lol2: these corporations are backwards

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Wrong on every level. Fuck these airlines. Basically, from the moment you enter the airport, you have no rights any longer. This man is 69 years old.....they could very well be dragging someone's grandfather off a plane, battered and bleeding because he doesn't want to give up a seat he paid for. I know "overbooking" is standard policy but something needs to give with that too. This poor man is now a "celebrity" and all he was doing was trying to fly to his destination. NOW....the whole world has seen him at obviously a very low point and also, his "checkered" past is starting to come out......something about writing prescriptions for sexual favors from a male employee.....idk....it doesn't matter to me but now he's going to have to deal with this judgement from people for God knows how long. 

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What a bizarre & sad situation!  Hope the guy is ok....

Agree that flying sucks.Use to fly more regularly, but coach seating is uncomfortable & you're hardly offered anything. Airlines rip you off to check one extra bag. 

Sometimes you get stuck next to a crazy person or someone who wants to talk your ear off. Experiencing long delays on the tarmac is dreadful too.

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Aerospace & Defense | Wed Apr 12, 2017 | 7:02am EDT

United Airlines faces mounting pressure over hospitalized passenger

United Airlines (UAL.N) and its chief executive faced mounting pressure on Tuesday from a worldwide backlash over its treatment of a passenger who was dragged from his seat on a plane on Sunday to make room for four employees on the overbooked flight.

Lawyers for the passenger, Dr. David Dao, issued a statement late on Tuesday confirming his identity and saying that he and his family were "focused only on Dr. Dao's medical care and treatment" in a Chicago hospital.

The U.S. Department of Transportation launched an inquiry into the incident, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called for new rules to curb the airline practice of overbooking flights.

United CEO Oscar Munoz issued a statement on Tuesday apologizing to Dao without naming him. "I'm sorry. We will fix this," Munoz said. "I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard. No one should ever be mistreated this way."

On Monday, Munoz issued a memo to employees defending the company but not apologizing to the passenger.

Munoz, a former railroad executive who took over the helm at United in 2015, had already been under pressure from activist investors to improve the airline's performance, including its customer relations.

Video showing Dao being yanked from his seat by airport security Sunday evening and dragged from United Airlines Flight 3411 at Chicago O'Hare International Airport went viral and sparked global outrage.

An online petition calling for Munoz to step down had nearly 22,000 signatures by early Tuesday evening.

On Chinese social media, the incident attracted the attention of more than 480 million users on Weibo, China's Twitter-like platform.

United has about 20 percent of total U.S.-China airline traffic and has a partnership with Air China, the country's third-largest airline, according to analysts. It flies to more Chinese cities than any other U.S. carrier. Last year, United added nonstop flights from San Francisco to Hangzhou, its fifth destination in mainland China.

Dao, before being dragged off the parked plane, said repeatedly that he was being discriminated against because he was Chinese, according to Tyler Bridges, a fellow passenger on the flight from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky.

"He said, 'I'm a doctor; I need to see patients,'" said Bridges, a civil engineer from Louisville who recorded much of the incident on his phone.

Shares of United Continental closed down 1.1 percent at $70.71, after falling as much as 4.4 percent earlier. The company shed as much as about $1 billion in market value before ending the day with a loss of about $250 million. More than 16 million United shares changed hands, the most for any session in a year.

The stock is down about 3 percent for the year.

United is also suffering from broader worries among investors about U.S. airline performance.

In the United States, social media outrage continued, with the incident trending on Twitter for the second consecutive day. Many users promoted hashtags #NewUnitedAirlinesMotto and #BoycottUnitedAirlines.

This is the second time in less than a month that United has been caught in a social media storm. In late March, a United gate agent's decision to refuse to board two teenage girls wearing leggings provoked a viral backlash.

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Monday - CEO cunt refused to apologize

Tuesday - UA shed 1 billion in market value, CEO cunt apologize but still not willing to address the passenger by his name

I wonder what will he do if Wednesday another 1 billion shed off UA market value? :1251: 

I hope UA board fires him.

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Gallery: United Airlines slammed for passenger removal

 

Gallery: United Airlines slammed for passenger removal

The Internet is trolling United Airlines hard after a video of a passenger being forcefully removed from his seat appeared online. — Twitter/Reflog_18

tweet

Screen grab of tweet by @realitskenny

tweet

Screen grab of tweet by @pzambrana

Screen grab of tweet by @MaxismMao

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Apparently China is not amused?

WW3 anyone?

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Gallery: United Airlines slammed for passenger removal

Bad timing on your app update

Gallery: United Airlines slammed for passenger removal

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How will they ever recover from this?

Poor man. :( 

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Gallery: United Airlines slammed for passenger removal

 

Gallery: United Airlines slammed for passenger removal

The Internet is trolling United Airlines hard after a video of a passenger being forcefully removed from his seat appeared online. — Twitter/Reflog_18

tweet

Screen grab of tweet by @realitskenny

tweet

Screen grab of tweet by @pzambrana

Screen grab of tweet by @MaxismMao

M

G

:lmao:

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This is scandalous and this is one of the worst PR I've seen in years. They deserve to get sued and I hope they will. I will never fly with United again. What they did to that man is revolting.

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FB_IMG_1491951522622.jpg

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This is scandalous and this is one of the worst PR I've seen in years. They deserve to get sued and I hope they will. I will never fly with United again. What they did to that man is revolting.

Same here. Absolutely appalling and I hope he sues them.   I bet they will reach a huge settlement with him privately.  Hopefully they will to save him more stress. He did nothing wrong and was treated like a criminal. 

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Terrible thing

but its interesting how no one other in the flight offered their place instead....

This! Amazing how people just sat there, and even recorded it all! Weird. American airlines are pretty bad in terms of service, I must say. It sometimes feels like the flight crew are handling cattle, and not people.

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