It’s as if United Airlines doesn’t care if they go bottoms up.
Last week, United ordered the removal of an allegedly randomly selected passenger, Dr. David Dao from one of their flights due to overbooking, to make room for United staff. Unfortunately, this took the form of Chicago Airport Police brutally body slamming and dragging the doctor from the plane, which resulted in a concussion, a broken nose and several missing teeth, leading to hospitalization.
Despite this, United Airlines was clearly not deterred from mistreating their patrons. Michael Hohl and Amber Maxwell were travelling from Houston, Texas to Costa Rica for a wedding when they made the decision — for reasons which are not immediately clear — to move a few rows ahead of their assigned seats for the duration of the flight.
The plane, they assert, was only half full, yet the crew for the 1737 flight demanded they leave the aircraft as a result. In interviewing with the New York Daily News, Hohl informed the publication that a U.S. Air Marshal ultimately forced them from the plane under the pretense that the seats they moved to were of a higher price bracket than their assigned seats, and at the urging of United employees on board. Hohl refuted this, claiming that they simply moved to another row of equivalent, economy seating on the plane and that a huge scene erupted quickly.
‘They said that we were being disorderly and a hazard to the rest of the flight, to the safety of the other customers.’
Hohl and Maxwell were on route to a wedding in Costa Rica at the time.
In a public statement, United Airlines reaffirmed their position that the couple were trying to sit in seats at a higher price bracket, writing:
‘These passengers repeatedly attempted to sit in upgraded seating which they did not purchase and they would not follow crew instructions to return to their assigned seats. We’ve been in touch with them and have rebooked them on flights tomorrow.’
It has not yet been reported whether United learned from their previous mistake with Dr. David Dao and took the time to remove the couple’s luggage following their removal. Following the incident with Dao, the company did not undertake such measures, and instead sent Dao and his wife’s luggage to Kentucky, leaving them with nothing while the doctor recovered in hospital from the injuries he sustained during the removal.
Dr. Dao has retained a legal team to represent him and will “probably” sue the airline for his mistreatment. It has not been determined yet whether Hohl and Maxwell will similarly pursue legal action, but given that in this case, physical force was not used, it seems unlikely.
No doubt that this new incident has the airline’s public relations and marketing departments working overtime to try to solidify their account of the story. Likewise, pilots for United Airlines expressed public outrage following the removal of Dr. Dao, and placed the blame solely on the shoulders of the Chicago Airport Police for their handling of the situation.
Feature Image via Getty Images.