Saturday 24 February 2018

Revealed: The letter from United Airline's boss defending employees after passenger was dragged from plane

A United Airlines plane
A United Airlines plane Newsdesk Newsdesk

Here is the text of the letter United Airlines' parent company chief executive Oscar Munoz sent to employees after a passenger was dragged from a United plane at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. The summary below the letter was compiled by United:

Dear Team,

Like you, I was upset to see and hear about what happened last night aboard United Express Flight 3411 headed from Chicago to Louisville.

While the facts and circumstances are still evolving, especially with respect to why this customer defied Chicago Aviation Security Officers the way he did, to give you a clearer picture of what transpired, I've included below a recap from the preliminary reports filed by our employees.

An image made from a video shows a passenger who was removed from a United Airlines flight in Chicago (Audra Bridges via AP)
An image made from a video shows a passenger who was removed from a United Airlines flight in Chicago (Audra Bridges via AP)

As you will read, this situation was unfortunately compounded when one of the passengers we politely asked to deplane refused and it became necessary to contact Chicago Aviation Security Officers to help.

Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this. While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right.

I do, however, believe there are lessons we can learn from this experience, and we are taking a close look at the circumstances surrounding this incident. Treating our customers and each other with respect and dignity is at the core of who we are, and we must always remember this no matter how challenging the situation.


Summary of Flight 3411

  • On Sunday, April 9, after United Express Flight 3411 was fully boarded, United's gate agents were approached by crewmembers that were told they needed to board the flight.
  • We sought volunteers and then followed our involuntary denial of boarding process (including offering up to 1,000 dollars 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.
  • 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.
  • Our agents were left with no choice but to call Chicago Aviation Security Officers to assist in removing the customer from the flight. He repeatedly declined to leave.
  • Chicago Aviation Security Officers were unable to gain his co-operation and physically removed him from the flight as he continued to resist - running back onto the aircraft in defiance of both our crew and security officials.

The letter comes after a video of a doctor "being dragged like a rag doll" off the plane sparked uproar on social media.

Videos taken by other passengers show security appearing to pull the man out of his seat and drag him along the aisle.

Witness Audra Bridges claims that the man returned to his seat but looked dazed and disorientated and was then brought away again.

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

The man can be heard screaming in the clip, while someone else says: "This is wrong."

Onlooker Jayse D Anspach claimed: "A couple of airport security men forcefully pulled the doctor out of his chair and to the floor of the aisle.

"In so doing, the doctor's face was slammed against an arm rest, causing serious bleeding from his mouth.

"It looked like he was knocked out, because he went limp and quiet and they dragged him out of the plane like a rag doll."

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