Lewis and Clark Valley News

Local man shares experience being kicked off United flight



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United Airlines is apologizing today for a passenger who was dragged off a plane and a local man is sharing his own experience being asked to leave a flight.

Nearly everyone has seen the shocking cell phone video showing a man dragged from a United Airline flight after he refused to give up his seat. Four passengers were randomly selected to deplane when it was determined four crew member needed seats to get to Louisville. However, one passenger had to be dragged away after he fought airport police who tried to remove him.

“It’s just so aggressive. There had to have been other options that they could have taken,” said Lina Masino, who was flying to New York out of the Spokane International Airport.

Passengers say initially the man, identified as Dr. David Dao, offered to give up his seat. But, when he found out the next flight wasn’t until the next afternoon, he refused to leave.

Moments later, video shows Dao being dragged down the aisle while passengers protest, as blood is running down his mouth.

A Medical Lake man says he was removed from a United flight about two years ago in Spokane while trying to fly to Miami.

“The lady that was boarding everybody on top came down and said ‘we need your seats,’ so she says ‘we’ll give you these vouchers for $300 per person,'” said Charles Groom.

Groom said when he attempted to use those vouchers to book another flight before the expiration date, they were worthless.

“As soon as we mentioned that we had these vouchers, the price went from $450 a ticket to $850 a ticket, almost $900,” Groom said.

The backlash against United only continues to grow. Some customers cut up their United credit cards. The company’s stock was also down nearly 4% at one point Tuesday, and their market value was down $1 billion.

Tuesday, CEO Oscar Munoz said he was “deeply disturbed” by the incident. He also offered an apology to Dao, which previous statements did not include. However, many say that apology is too little, too late.

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