Society

United Shares Drop After Passenger Video Goes Viral

| by Ray Brown

United Airlines stock dropped 5 percent after a video surfaced of police violently forcing a passenger off a plane because the airline overbooked the flight and wanted the seat for one of its employees.

The drop in stock lowered the value of the airline by $1 billion, according to CNN.

The uproar began on April 9, when a United Airlines flight in Chicago was fully booked but the airline needed to fly four of its passengers on the flight so they could staff another flight in Louisville, Kentucky, the final destination.

The airline asked for volunteers to disembark the flight and offered a free night's hotel stay, vouchers for up to $800, and a guaranteed seat on the next Louisville-bound flight the following afternoon.

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After nobody volunteered, United Airlines randomly picked four people to be removed from the flight.

The first three got off the flight without resistance. But one unidentified passenger, who claimed to be a doctor who had patients to see the following morning, refused.

Police were then called in to remove the passenger. One officer yanked the passenger out of his seat, which caused his head to hit the armrest of the seat on the other aisle.

The man screamed at first, then went silent as he was dragged off the plane. Blood can be seen seen around his mouth area and cheeks.

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United Airlines spokesman Charlie Hobart told The New York Times that staff "had asked several times, politely," for the man to leave the plane before police were called in to force him off.

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz also issued a response, explaining his regret for having to "re-accommodate" the passenger.

"This is an unsettling event to all of us here at United," he said. "I apologize 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."

Munoz's response, including his use of the word "re-accommodate" to describe forcibly yanking a man out of his seat and dragging him out as blood streams from his face, received a great deal of criticism online, according to CNBC.

"Dear #united, I had to 're-accommodate' someone once," tweeted Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas, along with a picture of him tackling an opponent.

Sources: CNN, CNBC, Joe Thomas/Twitter, The New York Times / Photo credit: Lasse Fuss/Wikimedia Commons

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