United Airlines (NYSE:UAL) along with its CEO is facing mounting pressure and a worldwide backlash over dragging a passenger from his seat and injuring him in the process. The U.S. Department of Transportation has already launched an inquiry into the incident. Chris Christie, the New Jersey Governor, has called for new rules to prevent airlines from overbooking flights. There is outrage on the social media, with many asking for a total boycott of United Airlines.
Lawyers for the Chinese passenger, David Dao, have said in a statement they are for now focusing on his medical care and treatment, but United may hear from them soon.
United Airlines Threatens Passenger with Handcuffs
In the meantime, a new incident has come to the forefront, where United threatened a passenger and said they will handcuff him if he does not vacate his seat immediately. United Airlines told the man that the seat needs to be given to someone else who was a “more important flyer”.
59-years old Geoff Fearns is the President of Tripacific Capital Advisors. He was traveling to Los Angeles in a United Airlines flight. Speaking to LA Times, he says a United employee came over to him and asked him to get off the plane as it was overbooked. Apparently, the original flight has some mechanical issues and was replaced with a smaller plane with fewer seats.
Fearns says, “That’s when they told me they needed the seat for somebody more important who came at the last minute. They said they have a priority list and this other person was higher on the list than me”. He complained the airlines didn’t say anything at the gate. “I was already in the seat. And now they were telling me I had no choice. They said they’d put me in cuffs if they had to”.
This happened a week before the incident where the Chinese man was forcefully evicted. More such stories of how the airline mistreats its customers are coming out.
United Airlines Denied Request for a Full Refund
Geoff Fearns complained and asked for a full refund, and also requested that United make a $25,000 donation to charity. Both the requests were rejected. However, United Airlines (NYSE:UAL) did agree to transfer the man to economy from first-class and issue a refund for the price difference.
A $500 credit was also issued for a future trip on the airline. However, Geoff Fearns says he will never fly on United Airlines again.