Calling the passenger “disruptive and belligerent”

Unbelievably, the CEO of United is unrepentant. He says it was all the passenger’s fault – you know, the passenger who had a ticket and duly boarded the plane and sat in his seat, and then was told to get out of it because the airline wanted it back. It was his fault.

United CEO Oscar Munoz doubled down in a letter to employees on Monday evening, claiming that employees “followed established procedures” when removing a passenger from a plane because it was overbooked, and calling the passenger “disruptive and belligerent.”

That’s established procedures? Smashing your face onto an armrest and then dragging you bodily up the aisle while you bleed freely from a broken lip?

Video circulated of the incident earlier in the day, showing the man being dragged from the plane and later returning with blood on his face. The incident drew scorn on Twitter and other social media, especially when Munoz used the euphemism “re-accomodate” in a public statement to describe the customers booted from the flight.

According to the letter, which was obtained by CNBC, when crew members first approached the passenger to tell him to leave, he “raised his voice and refused to comply,” and each time they asked again “he refused and became more and more disruptive and belligerent.”

I don’t care. He’d bought a ticket. You didn’t warn him it was only provisionally his. How do I know? Because I have never once been warned by an airline that they might just decide to throw me off the plane if they want to fit someone else onto it. Not once. Yes no doubt it’s in the fine print, but that’s not the same thing.

And why is he the one who is disruptive and belligerent? Why isn’t it disruptive and belligerent of United to throw him off the plane simply because it wants his duly purchased seat back?

Crew members “were left with no choice but to call Chicago Aviation Security Officers to assist in removing the customer from the flight,” Munoz wrote, and at one point the passenger “continued to resist – running back onto the aircraft in defiance of both our crew and security officials.”

Munoz acknowledged to employees that the company could learn lessons from the incident, but said: “I emphatically stand behind all of you.”

Well I emphatically stand behind all of us in saying fuck you to United Airlines and its CEO.

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