United Airlines’ CEO defends dragging passenger off flight

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Some lawmakers are calling for an investigation into United Airlines’ decision to drag a paying customer off of a recent flight so that airline employees could take his place.

However, in a statement issued to employees, CEO Oscar Munoz said that the passenger, an elderly Chinese doctor, had “defied” security officers and had become “disruptive and belligerent.”

Munoz’s statement defended employees’ actions even though the passenger was knocked out and bloodied as security officials literally dragged his limp body off of a Chicago flight bound for Louisville.

“This situation was unfortunately compounded when one of the passengers we politely asked to deplane refused and it became necessary to contact Chicago Aviation Security Officers to help,” Munoz said in his statement, adding, “Treating our customers and each other with respect and dignity is at the core of who we are, and we must always remember this no matter how challenging the situation.”

Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) condemned the way the airline treated its passenger. “I deplore the violent removal of a passenger from a United Airlines flight this weekend,” she stated on Monday. On Tuesday, she called for a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing to investigate the incident, according to a Fox News report.

“Airline passengers must have protections against such abusive treatment,” said Norton.

Other congressional leaders, including Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) joined Norton in calling for an investigation.

Boyle tweeted, “I will not fly #United anymore. Further, it’s time for govt to investigate their repeated abuses toward passengers.”

Social media users in China reacted with outrage after the footage was posted, using the hashtag #UnitedForcesPassengerOffPlane. According to one poster, “If you beat your customers, we will thrash your reputation and your market share around the world, until we hear a sincere apology from your bleeding mouth.”

Munoz’s statement, however, was anything but apologetic:

“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. He was approached a few more times after that in order to gain his compliance to come off the aircraft, and each time he refused and became more and more disruptive and belligerent. Chicago Aviation Security Officers were unable to gain his cooperation and physically removed him from the flight as he continued to resist – running back onto the aircraft in defiance of both our crew and security officials.”

On his show on Monday, Tucker Carlson interviewed Tyler Bridges, who took the viral video that shows the man being kicked off the flight. According to Bridges, at first, the man tried to appeal to United workers, saying he was a doctor and had patients to see the next morning because the next flight to Louisville wasn’t scheduled until 2 p.m. the following afternoon.

H/T: Fox News

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