United Airlines removed an engaged couple from the flight to Costa Rica on Saturday. The couple stated that a federal marshal escorted them from the plane before take-off from Houston, Texas.
However, United denied this accusation saying that the couple “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. They were asked to leave the plane by our staff and complied.” According to United, neither a marshal nor other authorities was involved.
As a solution, Michael Hohl and his fiancée, Amber Maxwell, were offered to rebook a flight for a Sunday morning and a discounted hotel rate for the night.
And here again United Airlines and passengers give different statements. According to Hohl and Maxwell, they found a passenger sleeping across their seats when they were the last to board and offered to pay for upgraded seating but were denied. A flight crew didn’t allow them to pay a supplement for the seats, which United sells as “economy plus”, and told them to move back to their original seats.
“We thought not a big deal, it’s not like we are trying to jump up into a first-class seat,” Hohl said. “We were simply in an economy row a few rows above our economy seat.”
It is the second time for one week that unpleasant news from United Airlines appears in the press. The airline still remains under scrutiny after a shocking video appeared last week. The video posted online by other passengers showed a man, who appeared to be Asian, screaming, body limp, bleeding from the mouth, glasses askew and shirt pulled up above his navel as officers yanked him from his seat. The incident took place on United Flight 3411 before it departed from Chicago O’Hare International Airport to Louisville, Kentucky, on Sunday. As far as the incident is being investigated, one of the security officers involved in the incident is placed on leave.
Just as actions of United officers caused public outrage, Chief Executive Oscar Munoz apologized to Dao, his family and its customers, saying the carrier would no longer use law enforcement officers to remove passengers from overbooked flights.
The attorney of Dr. David Dao, the 69-year-old Vietnamese-American doctor who was seen in video, unveiled that his client would likely sue the airline.
Shares in United’s owner, United Continental Holdings Inc were hammered, dropping 4 percent last week to close at $69 on Thursday, reducing the company’s market cap by $770 million to $21.5 billion.