Monday 25 September 2017

United Airlines incident: Leaked documents reveal doctor dragged off flight was removed to give staff seats and he 'attempted to strike law enforcement'

Blood drips from the mouth of the doctor as he is dragged off the United Airlines flight
Blood drips from the mouth of the doctor as he is dragged off the United Airlines flight

Harriet Agerholm

A passenger who was dragged from a United Airlines plane after refusing to disembark attempted to hit a security agent, an internal document sent by the company reportedly claims.

A log of the incident available to staff and obtained by Mail Online appears to show the airline claim that 69-year-old grandfather David Dao “attempted to strike law enforcement”.

The note, apparently written at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, where the flight was due to depart from, was printed using United’s internal reporting system.

Video footage of the incident sparked outrage around the world, with many people threatening to boycott the airline.

The accusations said to have been made by United come after a leaked email to airline employees revealed Dr Dao was removed so staff could take his seat.

United Airlines was contacted for comment by The Independent but had not responded at the time this article was published.

On Monday, United Airlines’ CEO Oscar Munoz released a statement describing the incident as an “upsetting event”.

“I apologise for having to re-accommodate these customers,” he said.

“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.”

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz says the company will review its policies (AP)
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz says the company will review its policies (AP)

The incident took place on the United flight 3411 on 9 April from Chicago to Louisville.

The man in question was selected but refused to leave, claiming he was a doctor who needed to get to work to see patients the next day.

Officers were then called to remove him. He sustained injuries during his removal and was taken to hospital.

Meanwhile, a second leaked document - an email to employees - has also revealed that Mr Dao was removed so staff could take his seat.

In a letter to employees, United Airlines' parent company chief executive Oscar Munoz revealed the company had been trying to make room for four employees of a partner airline, which resulted in four passengers being told to get off the flight from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to Louisville.

After the plane was fully boarded, the company’s “gate agents were approached by crew members that were told they needed to board the flight”, the message leaked to ABC said.

"We sought volunteers and then followed our involuntary denial of boarding process (including offering up to $1,000 in compensation) and 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," Mr Munoz said.

"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."

Mr Munoz said he was “upset” by the incident, but added that employees had “followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this”.

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